Australia spinner Nathan Lyon could not resist a lighthearted quip when asked about the prospect of an unexpected Test series against Ashes rivals England.

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc with the 2020 sporting calendar and cricket has not been spared the scheduling headache caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.

Test cricket is set to resume next month with a behind-closed-doors series between England and West Indies.

Pakistan are due to tour England for three Tests and three T20 internationals immediately after, but the confirmation of 10 positive tests for coronavirus among Misbah-ul-Haq's squad has led to concerns over those matches.

Officials said plans to play Pakistan remain on track but there have been some murmurings that Australia, who are due to feature in a rescheduled limited-overs tour of England in September, could be asked to play some red-ball cricket should the matches with Pakistan be curtailed.

Asked about that possibility, Lyon replied with a smile: "It just sounds like England want the Ashes back ASAP!"

Australia's own plans are up in the air, with uncertainty over August's home ODI series with Zimbabwe, while the T20 World Cup – which is slated to take place in the country across October and November – may yet be moved to early next year.

"I've got no idea when we're playing next or when potential tours are or anything," Lyon added.

"There's so many balls up in the air. I'm not qualified to be making any arrangements.

"We know something will come eventually. It's just about getting some really good preparation under our belt."

Lyon has another target in his sights for later in the year, namely gaining revenge on India for Australia's 2018-19 Test-series defeat on home soil.

It was the first time India had won a red-ball series in Australia and Lyon wants to make amends when Virat Kohli's side are back for four Tests, the first of which starts in December.

"You never like losing series or games of cricket for Australia," Lyon said.

"India a couple of years ago, they outplayed us. But we're looking forward to having those guys come here, it's getting up there to the pinnacle series alongside the Ashes.

"They've got a side full of superstars and it's going to be an amazing challenge this Australian summer when they get out here."

Australia spinner Nathan Lyon believes Virat Kohli would have no trouble adjusting to playing without fans in attendance but joked the India star may "try and rev up the seats".

An ODI between Australia and New Zealand was played behind closed doors in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It remains to be seen when fans will again be allowed in to watch sporting events, with Australia due to host India from October.

Kohli is renowned for his ability to feed off crowds and Lyon joked the batsman could instead turn to the seats, although he was full of praise for the 31-year-old.

"He's probably good enough to adapt to any scenario," the off-spinner told a video conference on Tuesday.

"I was actually talking to Mitch Starc the other day and we actually said if we are playing with no crowd it would be quite amazing to see Virat try and rev up the seats.

"It's going to be a little bit different, but I think Virat, he's a superstar, he'll be able to adapt to any climate that we're able to play in."

While there is plenty of uncertainty over the series, Lyon said he was excited about welcoming India, who retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2018-19.

"I'm just excited about the prospect of India coming out. I think India coming out here to Australia, it's up there with the biggest series alongside the Ashes," he said.

"Obviously they're an absolute powerhouse of the cricket world so to have those guys out here is going to be fantastic. Playing in front of crowds or in front of no crowds, it's out of our control.

"We've got to be supported by and follow the advice from all the amazing medical people around the world giving out all the advice so it's out of our control.

"I haven't really thought about playing in front of no crowds or massive crowds, it's just about the opportunity about playing against India again.

"Obviously they had the wood over us last time they come out here, but I feel like we're a much stronger Australian cricket side at the moment and I'm just unbelievably excited about the prospect of playing them here at home."

Australia completed a 3-0 series sweep of New Zealand after David Warner's century and another Nathan Lyon five-for helped the hosts claim a crushing 279-run win in the third Test.

Warner scored an unbeaten 111 to lead Australia to 217-2 declared in their second innings and a mammoth lead of 416 runs on day four at the SCG on Monday.

And New Zealand's horror tour in the trans-Tasman series finally came to an end after being dismissed for 136 during the final half-hour, as Matt Henry did not bat due to injury.

Ross Taylor (22) made history by becoming New Zealand's all-time leading Test runscorer, however, it was another forgettable day for the visitors as Australia spinner Lyon (5-50) finished the match with 10 wickets.

The Black Caps were reduced to 4-2 inside five overs after Mitchell Starc (3-25) tore through openers Tom Latham (1) and Tom Blundell (2), while Lyon and Pat Cummins (1-29) joined in to leave New Zealand reeling on 38-5 after tea.

Taylor was skittled by a stunning Cummins delivery in the over after surpassing Stephen Fleming for his country's record as Australia steamrolled New Zealand inside four days for the third consecutive Test.

Colin de Grandhomme (52), BJ Watling (19) and Todd Astle (17) provided some resistance but Australia showed their class to remain undefeated in their home season.

Tim Paine's side resumed on 40-0, with Warner and his under-pressure opening partner Joe Burns setting about building upon an already commanding lead of 243.

Only two wickets fell as Warner celebrated his third century of the Australian summer and 24th of his career – taking his tally to 786 runs at 131 against Pakistan and New Zealand.

Burns added 24 to his overnight score when he was trapped lbw by Astle (1-41), for 40 despite originally being given not out.

Marnus Labuschagne (59) contributed a quick-fire half-century – his seventh score above 50 in eight innings – before going out swinging to Matt Henry (1-54).

Australia's innings also featured a five-run penalty after umpire Aleem Dar ruled Labuschagne and Warner ran down the protected area of the pitch – the five runs added to New Zealand's first innings, improving it from 251 to 256.

In the final analysis, it made scant difference.

Nathan Lyon was delighted to be able to put on a show for his family and friends as the Australia bowler claimed 5-68 in the third Test against New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The spin bowler shrugged off a nasty thumb injury and two dropped catches as he starred with the ball, helping to skittle the Black Caps for 251 before the hosts extended their lead to 243 runs - without losing a second-innings wicket - at the end of day three.

Lyon had never posted a five-for at the SCG before and was glad to have done so in a fine display on Sunday.

"It's always special being part of the Sydney Test match and playing in front of your family and friends, and to perform in the first innings was pretty special," he said.

"There's still plenty of work to do in the second dig, but if you were rocking up today and saying we'd end up with a lead of 240 and 10 wickets in hand, we'll take that every day."

Australia's bowlers have pledged to donate $1,000AUD to the bushfire relief appeal for every wicket they take in the Test.

Discussing the devastating fires that have swept the country, Lyon added: "We're not doing it [donating money] for recognition or anything like that...we're playing a game of cricket and there's people being severely affected by fires.

"It puts cricket in perspective and it's really showing Australia's true colours. The true heroes of Australia right now are the firefighters and the volunteers.

"Everyone rallies behind someone when they're having a hard time. I'm proud to be Australian in hard times, to be honest, and we're getting around them."

Asked about his impressive recent form, Lyon suggested it was as much about the entire bowling unit as his own efforts.

"I'm fortunate to be part of the best bowling attack in the world so it's just about building pressure from both ends," he said.

"We've been able to do that over the last eight months or so. We're just getting our reward for all our hard work and preparation."

Australia piled further misery on New Zealand as Nathan Lyon's five-for helped roll the Black Caps and extend the home side's advantage on day three of the third Test.

Lyon overcame a bloodied thumb and two dropped catches to claim figures of 5-68 in Sydney, where the embattled Kiwis were dismissed for 251 on Sunday.

After skittling New Zealand late in the final session, David Warner (23 not out) and Joe Burns (16 not out) guided Australia to 40-0 and a lead of 243 runs at stumps.

New Zealand returned to the SCG at 63-0, with Tom Latham and Tom Blundell at the crease in reply to Australia's 454, however, it was another difficult morning for the tourists.

Lyon bowled Blundell before the New Zealand batsman could add to his overnight score of 34 and the Australia spinner struck again – trapping Jeet Raval (31) lbw.

Pat Cummins (3-44) joined the wicket-takers in the following over when his delivery to stand-in captain Lathan (49) was caught by Mitchell Starc as the Black Caps were 141-3 at lunch.

Debutant Glenn Phillips dug deep for New Zealand, who have tried to restore some pride having already lost the trans-Tasman series, but he had little support in the middle session.

Cummins trapped Ross Taylor (22) lbw, BJ Watling (9) was bundled over by fellow paceman Starc and Colin de Grandhomme (20) was run out prior to tea.

Phillips, who was twice dropped by Lyon, celebrated a half-century before he was bowled by Cummins, with Lyon cleaning up the tail – William Somerville (0), Neil Wagner (0) and Matt Henry (3) sent back to the pavilion.

That brought Australia out to bat again, and Warner and Burns negotiated a tricky 16-over spell to put the hosts firmly in control ahead of the penultimate day.

Glenn McGrath believes Australia's bowlers are up there with the best attack they have ever had.

Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Nathan Lyon all made an impact when Australia beat New Zealand at Perth Stadium to seal the on-going three-Test series with a game to spare.

Pattinson got his chance after Josh Hazlewood limped out of the first Test with a hamstring injury, giving another demonstration of Australia's strength in depth. 

McGrath spearheaded a formidable Australia attack that included Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee and Shane Warne and he does not rate that unit as being any better than the current crop.

Speaking on the eve of the Pink Test at the SCG, which generates funds for the McGrath Foundation, the former seamer said: "They are right up there, without a doubt, their stats prove that.

"They are forming an attack that can compete with any era of Australian cricket.

"That spell on the day three [in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG] with Pat Cummins and James Pattinson, the way they bowled in tandem, was as good a fast bowling as you'll see anywhere in the world.

"To have Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood as well, four quality bowlers, throw in Nathan Lyon as well, it's as good a bowling attack as we've had.

"A lot people say New Zealand has been disappointing but I think a lot of that has been because of the way our bowlers have bowled.

"In Australian conditions they are tough to face, they will be tough to face anywhere in the world but especially at home."

New Zealand called up uncapped batsman Glenn Phillips on the eve of the final match of the series as cover for Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls, who have been laid low by illness.

Nathan Lyon has described four-day Test matches as "ridiculous" and made it clear he strongly opposes the idea of shortening contests in the game's longest format.

Two four-day Tests have already been played after the ICC approved a trial in 2017, while Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts said the issue is one his organisation will "consider really seriously" when it looks at its next cycle of international matches from 2023-2031.

Speaking on The Unplayable Podcast, Lyon offered a passionate defence of five-day Tests.

Asked for his thoughts on four-day contests, he responded: "Ridiculous. You look at all the big games around the world and some of the best Test matches I've been part of, they go down to the last day.

"You look at [Australia] against India at Adelaide in 2014, that went down to the last half-an-hour on day five. Then you look at Cape Town in 2014 as well, you look at that Test match [between South Africa and Australia] where Ryan Harris bowled Morne Morkel with two overs to go, so that's gone down to the last 10 minutes on day five.

"I'm not a fan of four-day Test matches. I believe you'll get so many more draws and day five is crucial. One, there's the weather element.

"But [also] the wickets these days are probably a lot flatter than they have been in the past, so it allows teams to bat longer and to put pressure on sides … and you need that time for the pitch to deteriorate and bring spinners in more on day five as well.

"I'm totally against it and I really hope ICC aren't even considering it."

Nathan Lyon is in no mood to give up his Australia place and hand Mitchell Swepson a taste of Test cricket because Shane Warne would never have done likewise.

Australia took an unassailable 2-0 lead in their three-match series against New Zealand by closing out a comprehensive 247-run win in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

It means there could be a temptation to look to the future in Sydney later this week, with uncapped leg-spinner Swepson part of Tim Paine's squad.

However, the lack of a seam bowling all-rounder in the party means the most viable way of putting the 26-year-old in the XI would be to rest experienced off-spinner Lyon.

Warne is among those who has urged Swepson's inclusion but Lyon shot back – invoking the Australia great's long-time rivalry with compatriot Stuart MacGill, himself an exceptional leg-spinner whose opportunities in international cricket were limited by sharing an era with one of the finest talents to grace the game.

"Did Warney ever want a rest and give Stuart MacGill a go? I won't be resting," Lyon, whose 380 Test wickets place him 18th on the all-time list, told reporters.

"I haven't met any Australian cricketers that would like to be rested.

"It's that hard playing Test cricket, but it's that rewarding as well so every opportunity you get to play cricket for Australia, it means the world to us.

"So I can't imagine Mitch Starc, Pat [Cummins] or Patto [James Pattinson] putting his hand up to say I need a rest.

'I know talking to those guys just after the game last night they're pretty pumped about coming up to Sydney and hopefully going three-nil up in the series against the number two team in the world.

"There's definitely no-one in that bowling cartel that really wants to put their hand up and say 'I want a rest'."

Nevertheless, Lyon professed himself to be a huge admirer of Swepson's talents and would relish playing in tandem with his fellow tweaker.

"Mitch has been bowling brilliantly for Queensland," the 32-year-old said.

"He's a great fella to start off with, but he gives it a rip and that's what I really love to see.

"I'm a big fan of Mitch, it's great to see him in and around our squad so he gets his chance and fingers crossed we can have a great combination together."

Lyon added: "I really enjoy bowling with another spinner.

"We get through our overs quite quickly and feel like we can build some pressure.

"If Sweppo does get his opportunity, to play alongside another leg-spinner is going to be pretty exciting but it's not up to me to make that call."

Australia claimed a series win over New Zealand after easing to victory in the Boxing Day Test, despite a fighting display from centurion Tom Blundell.

New Zealand wilted in the Melbourne heat at the MCG, where Australia wrapped up a crushing 247-run win on day four of the second Test on Sunday.

Blundell rallied for the Black Caps, celebrating his second Test hundred in three matches with a resilient 121 runs, but he had no support from his team-mates after Nathan Lyon (4-81) and James Pattinson (3-35) starred.

Marnus Labuschagne (1-11) ended Blundell's unforgettable innings late in the evening as Australia only required nine wickets to skittle New Zealand for 240 – Trent Boult not batting due to a fractured finger.

Australia declared,168-5, 10 overs into the penultimate day – the hosts setting New Zealand a mammoth 488 for victory as temperatures soared.

Already humbled by 296 runs in Perth, the Black Caps faced an uphill battle to keep the series alive in their first Boxing Day appearance in Melbourne in 1987, and Pattinson wreaked havoc on Sunday morning.

After a lively and tenacious start by Pat Cummins (0-47), Mitchell Starc (0-59) and Australia, Pattinson made an immediate impact with the wicket of opener Tom Latham for 8.

Pattinson – back in the team as a replacement for injured quick Josh Hazlewood – flourished on his home ground, claiming another two wickets before lunch to leave New Zealand reeling on 38-3.

After trapping captain Kane Williamson for a duck – his seventh against Australia – Pattinson then removed Ross Taylor (2), who chopped onto his own stumps.

Blundell dug deep following lunch with a half-century as New Zealand showed some fight, only losing one wicket in the middle session after Henry Nicholls (33) fell to Lyon.

BJ Watling (22) and Mitchell Santner (27) were the only other players to provide support for Blundell en route to a century on another forgettable day for New Zealand.

Nathan Lyon claimed a five-for as Australia thrashed Pakistan by an innings and 48 runs at to seal a 2-0 series victory in the second Test at Adelaide Oval.

Australia, who declared on 589-3 after David Warner's historic unbeaten 335 and imposed the follow-on when Pakistan made 302 in response, closed out a second successive resounding triumph thanks to some fine bowling from Lyon on day four.

Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali and Babar Azam fell in the final session on Sunday but Shan Masood (68) and Asad Shafiq (57) ensured Pakistan still put up a fight by extending their partnership to 103 runs.

However, Lyon eventually weaved his magic, finding plenty of turn and bounce on a flat track to tear through the Pakistan attack and return figures of 5-69.

Australia will hope to build on a pair of thoroughly impressive victories when they take on trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand in a three-Test series starting on December 12.

Masood was aggressive from the off and brought up his fifty when he found the ropes through mid-on – one of nine boundaries that included one maximum.

The Pakistan opener narrowly evaded Tim Paine when he nudged Josh Hazlewood (3-63) down the leg side and his partnership with Shafiq soon reached triple figures.

Masood was made to pay for a poor shot selection when he chipped Lyon to Mitchell Starc and after Shafiq brought up his fifty that was as good as it got for the tourists.

A shorter delivery from Lyon bamboozled Shafiq, who could only send it straight to Warner at leg slip, but a positive start from Mohammad Rizwan (45) helped Pakistan to 167-5 at tea.

The runs did not come as freely in the second session and Iftikhar Ahmed (27) was taken at the second attempt by first-innings centurion Marnus Labuschagne ​– who had been unable to hold onto Rizwan on four ​– off Lyon at short leg.

Pakistan lost their final four wickets for just 38 runs, with Lyon trapping Yasir Shah lbw on 13 before Shaheen Shah holed out off the prolific spinner for just one run before dinner.

Hazlewood expertly bowled Rizwan with a full delivery and Pakistan's resistance ended when Mohammad Abbas (1) was run out by Pat Cummins.

Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins starred as Australia knocked over Pakistan on the stroke of stumps on day one of the opening Test.

Starc claimed four wickets – including the final dismissal of the innings – and Cummins finished with three as Pakistan were bowled out for 240 at the Gabba on Thursday.

After losing five wickets in a middle-session collapse, Pakistan battled back via Mohammad Rizwan (37) and Yasir Shah (26) until losing 0-3 as Australia made the most of the second new ball in Brisbane.

Pakistan batted first after winning the toss, and it looked to be a wise decision as the tourists frustrated Australia's attack.

Despite a couple of early shouts, Pakistan impressed with captain Azhar Ali (39) and Shan Masood (27) at the crease – the pair making it to lunch unscathed on 57-0.

Azhar and Shan became the first tourists to bat through the opening session of a Test at the Gabba without lunch.

But Australia turned the screws on Pakistan after lunch as Josh Hazlewood (2-46), Cummins (3-60) and Starc (4-52) ripped through the top order.

After Pakistan reached 75-0 shortly after the break, Australia took 4-3 in a stunning seven-over blitz – Cummins setting the tone.

Cummins, the world's number one Test bowler, made the breakthrough with an angling delivery, which removed Shaan, who edged through to Steve Smith at slips.

The floodgates opened from that point as Hazlewood struck to dismiss Azhar – his 100th Test wicket on Australian soil – and then Babar Azam (1).

Starc sent Haris Sohail back to the pavilion caught behind for one, while Iftikhar Ahmed (7) was the last wicket to fall before lunch after inside-edging a Nathan Lyon (1-40) delivery to Marnus Labuschagne.

Resuming on 125-5 following tea, Rizwan came out with intent – hitting Cummins for three boundaries in one over.

Rizwan, however, was unfortunate after he was controversially caught behind on a Cummins delivery which appeared to be a no-ball.

But Pakistan dug deep and looked set to see out the day with four wickets in hand, until Australia took the new ball and Starc claimed back-to-back scalps as the lights came on, with 16-year-old debutant Naseem Shah (7) preventing a hat-trick prior to being caught and bowled at the death.

Nathan Lyon is refusing to give up hope on featuring for Australia at their home ICC Men's T20 World Cup despite missing out on selection against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

The spinner has only made two T20I appearances for his country – the last of those coming a year ago – and is not included for his country's upcoming series in 20-over cricket.

But Lyon, Australia's third-highest wicket-taker in Tests, still wants to play in all three formats and will continue to make himself available.

"Definitely I want to put my hand up for all games of cricket, especially for Australia," he said.

"Whatever game I play cricket for, I just need to make sure I'm doing my job and if I keep putting my hand up for selection, who knows where that may lead to?"

Lyon, who was facing a similar battle prior to the 50-over World Cup before entering as Australia's front-line spinner, insists there is no issue with chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns.

"He just called me and told me I wasn't in," he added.

"But I had a really good chat to Cracker [Hohns] – I get along really well with him – so if I have any issues with Cracker, I'll just pick up the phone.

"There's no doubt. I have the absolute utmost respect for him so there's no dramas there."

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