Ashes 2019: Lyon will be under pressure, says Thorpe

By Sports Desk August 04, 2019

Nathan Lyon will be under pressure to deliver when Australia try to seal victory on day five of the first Ashes Test, says England batting coach Graham Thorpe.

Centuries from Steve Smith and Matthew Wade wrested the initiative away from England on a sensational Sunday for Australia, who declared on 487-7 to set the hosts 398 for victory at Edgbaston.

It means England, who closed at 13-0 in reply, have to bat out the whole day on Monday to rescue a draw on a pitch that should be well suited to Australia spinner Lyon.

Thorpe recognised that, but says Lyon has a tough task ahead of him as well.

"The pitch is taking a turn. Nathan Lyon will be important - they will want him to bowl well," Thorpe told Test Match Special. 

"He's under pressure as well - he's probably got 200 deliveries through the day."

A few eyebrows were raised by England's decision not to utilise Chris Woakes at all in a morning session of frustration for Joe Root's men, but Thorpe defended the home side's tactics given the absence of seamer James Anderson due to a calf injury.

"He's [Woakes] fine. It may have been that we were looking at spin options to start with and Stokes and Broad as well," he added. "Being a bowler down, [we were] just juggling the workloads."

Moeen Ali [2-130] had a day to forget and there was only a muted celebration when he bowled a peach through the gate to remove Tim Paine.

With Moeen also struggling with the bat, his place in the line-up is under threat, but Thorpe vowed the coaching team will rally round him.

"Moeen had one of his tougher days, [but] you've got to support all your guys in the dressing room. We know we leaked more than we wanted to," Thorpe added to Sky Sports.

"You have to help him, that's the thing for us in the dressing room, to support him where we can [to] help him improve going forward."

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