Steve Smith admits Nathan Lyon’s calf injury does not look good for Australia

By Sports Desk June 29, 2023

Australia centurion Steve Smith admitted Nathan Lyon’s calf injury does not look good with the tourists’ braced to play the rest of the second Ashes Test without their frontline spinner.

Lyon injured his right calf while trying to make up ground to catch Ben Duckett’s lofted pull shot off Cameron Green in the 37th over of England’s innings.

The sight of Lyon holding the back of his calf and being forced to hobble off the pitch brought back memories of Glenn McGrath’s busted ankle on the eve of the second Ashes Test in the 2005 series.

A Cricket Australia spokesperson later confirmed Lyon was being assessed and while no scan has been booked, his chances of featuring in the rest of the Lord’s Test look over and his whole series could even be in doubt.

“Yeah, I haven’t been up in the sheds yet but obviously it didn’t look good,” Smith conceded.

“I mean it doesn’t look ideal for the rest of the game. I’m not sure how he actually is, but if he is no good, it is obviously a big loss for us.

“He is in his 100th consecutive Test match, which I know he was really looking forward to taking part in and having a role in.

“Fingers crossed he is okay but it didn’t look good obviously.

“It is not ideal, particularly your spin bowler. One player with one role. Batters, I suppose there are loads of us around so it is a bit different.

“Nathan, if he is no good, would be a huge loss. However, we have Todd Murphy waiting in the wings, who has been bowling beautifully in nets and bowled really well in India when he got his opportunity.

“I would be confident if he came in that he would do a terrific job for us but fingers crossed Nathan is alright.”

Smith, who struck 110 in Australia’s first innings total of 416, warmed up for this English summer with a three-match stint for Sussex, where he claimed two for 55 in his final appearance against Glamorgan.

But the part-time leg-spinner insisted: “I haven’t been working on my bowling at all.

“I bowled a few overs at the back end of one of the games – where pretty much the game was dead – just because everyone else was cooked.

“Hopefully I won’t have to bowl too much. I thought (Travis) Heady bowled all right, a bit different to Nathan, just skidding them more than Nathan does.

“Yeah, Heady is probably the one who is going to have to take a fair chunk of the spin overs and maybe myself and Marnus (Labuschagne) will chop in here and there.

“Yeah, not ideal when you lose your spinner on a surface that is not offering a great deal for the quick bowlers.”

England opener Ben Duckett sent his best wishes to Lyon but acknowledged the absence of Australia’s veteran spinner could be crucial in their efforts to level the series.

“It is a huge shame. I really hope it’s not too bad for him,” Duckett said.

“You never want to see anyone go down with an injury. He was going to play a massive part in that fourth innings because he is such a good bowler. If they go bumpers with all three bowlers, they’ll be pretty tired.”

Smith, who was 85 not out overnight, celebrated his 32nd Test hundred in the morning session.

A sumptuous cover drive for four earned Smith his 12th Ashes century, with eight of them occurring in England.

He added: “It is obviously a huge moment, I love playing here at Lords. I have spent a fair bit of time in the middle the last two times here and then this game as well.

“It is a nice place to play if you get in, you get good value for your shots and nice to get myself back up on the honours board again.”

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