As cherished as the memories of the English heroics at the business end of the famous 2019 Headingley Test are for England fans, Australia’s own wasted opportunities in the dying embers of that contest have lived just as long in the memory.
Tim Paine’s decision to spurn his only remaining review just minutes before his team so desperately needed it and Nathan Lyon’s fumbled gather as he attempted to run out Jack Leach are remembered just as well as Leach’s nudge into the leg-side for a single and Stokes’ cut shot off Pat Cummins to seal victory.
The most recent The Grade Cricketer Podcast, which includes in-depth interviews with both Steve Smith and Ed Cowan, references an explanation made by Lyon on that botched run out attempt at Headingley.
Lyon’s explanation was made on the cricket.com.au’s Unplayable podcast this August, a year after that fateful day in Leeds. “Yeah, it actually hit a sprinkler head in the middle of the wicket and it just kicked off,” Lyon told Unplayable. “Nah, the throw was there… it was there for me to take and I just took my eye off the ball when you look back at it. The thing is we all make mistakes, the big difference is 25 million people or more were watching my mistake over and over and over. It wasn’t pleasing.”
Lyon elaborated on how he felt in the moments after his side’s defeat, one that kept England’s hopes in the series alive. He said: “I left the changing room. I went and sat in the fire exit. I just needed to get away and had a towel over my head for the next half an hour. It was pretty hard personally after that game. That was probably the hardest that I‘ve been hit in a losing cricket game. Personally, it was pretty tough.”