Off-spinner Nathan Lyon says there are no dead rubbers as Australia chases a 5-0 whitewash of England in the 2021-22 Ashes.

Australia leads the series 3-0 after three dominant victories ahead of the fourth Ashes Test starting on Wednesday at the SCG.

There has been speculation about the make-up of the Australian side given they have already secured a series victory with dilemmas on Josh Hazlewood's fitness and Scott Boland's place along with talk of a second spinner in Mitch Swepson.

Lyon, who has taken 12 wickets in the three Tests, insisted Australia were determined to pursue victory and pick the best side possible.

"There's no more dead rubbers - and I've never considered them when you wear a baggy green - firstly because there's the World Test Championship and we want to go 5-0 up," Lyon told reporters on Sunday.

"If the conditions suit then we pick the best team to win that Test to make sure we keep moving forward. The Ashes for me is the pinnacle but I'd love to be part of a Test Championship final to state our case for the number one team in the world."

Australia missed out on the World Test Championship final last year, finishing third behind winners New Zealand and India. The Aussies have won the past two Ashes on home soil 4-0 and 5-0 respectively.

Lyon endorsed fellow spinner Swepson, who is set to get Test opportunities in 2022 with tours of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India to come.

"I love bowling in partnership with spinners for sure," Lyon said. "I've done it a lot in subcontinent conditions so if the opportunity does come to play two spinners I know we'll really enjoy building that partnership. We've been doing it in the nets but it's a lot different."

Hazlewood, who has missed the past two Tests with a side injury, is expected to train fully with the group on Monday and could replace Boland who took 7-6 in the second innings of the third Test.

Jhye Richardson took 5-42 as Australia claimed a 275-run victory over England in the second Ashes Test to take a 2-0 series lead.

Australia headed into day five requiring just six wickets to take a 2-0 series lead, Joe Root's side batting only for a draw, given they needed an improbable 386 runs for victory.

Any chance of England escaping without defeat hinged on the shoulders of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, after the tourists' captain Joe Root fell to Mitchell Starc (2-43) on the final ball of day four.

Australia flew out of the blocks, Starc removing Ollie Pope – caught at slip by stand-in captain Steve Smith – and Nathan Lyon picking up the crucial wicket of Stokes, who was dismissed for a 77-ball 12.

Buttler and Chris Woakes then lived charmed lives, with the wicketkeeper edging Starc between a motionless Alex Carey and David Warner, while the right-arm all-rounder survived a caught-behind review from Lyon having not scored.

That England partnership lasted 31 overs before Woakes was bowled by Richardson, with Ollie Robinson following soon after as he was caught at slip by Smith off Lyon.

Stuart Broad successfully reviewed a leg before wicket decision to make it into the final session, but Buttler (26) fell in bizarre fashion, stepping on his own stumps after a 207-ball stint at the crease.

Richardson fittingly removed James Anderson, caught in the gully by Cameron Green, as England made it 12 Tests without a win in Australia (D1, L11); their joint-longest run without a victory Down Under (also 12 matches between January 1937 to February 1951).

England head to Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test needing a win to stand a chance of regaining the Ashes, while a draw would ensure Australia retain the urn yet again.

Buttler battles to no avail

Buttler, who before the Ashes insisted he would play with a carefree with "nothing to lose", battled against Australia almost single-handedly on Monday, but even his best efforts were not enough against a relentless Australia.

It was a mixed bag of a Test for the 31-year-old, who took some stunning catches, but also dropped some golden chances behind the stumps.

Contrasting fortunes under the lights

England's rear-guard almost masked multiple selection issues across the Gabba and the Adelaide Oval, but what cannot be denied is Australia's magnificent pink-ball form.

The hosts have won all nine of their day-night Test matches, the most by any side and the only team with a 100 per cent record, while England have lost each of their last four games in the format – last winning against West Indies in August 2017. Richardson was the pick of the bunch for the hosts, sealing his five-for when he dismissed Anderson.

Travis Head was delighted to see Joe Root dismissed with the final ball of day four in Adelaide, while Australia's stand-in vice-captain expects Nathan Lyon to dominate day five of the second Ashes Test.

Root's 24 on Sunday may have seen him overtake Alastair Cook (4,844) to become England's top run-scorer as Test captain, but the current skipper had little to celebrate barring yet another personal landmark in a fantastic 2021 for the Yorkshireman.

The tourists started positively, dismissing nightwatchman Michael Neser (3), Marcus Harris (23) and Steve Smith (6) in quickfire fashion to leave the hosts 55-4.

However, Marnus Labuschagne (51) and Head (51) fought back, before Cameron Green (33 not out) and Mitchell Starc (19) guided Australia to their declaration total of 230-9, setting England a mammoth 468 to win.

Rory Burns (34) and Dawid Malan (20) offered some brief resistance after Haseeb Hameed had been removed for a duck by Jhye Richardson, but the pair were soon sent packing to leave Root and Ben Stokes (3 not out) to try and save the day.

Root, though, fell to Starc's final delivery after he had earlier been hit in the groin by the left-arm quick, and Head appreciated what a big wicket the England captain was.

"Root is a huge wicket, he is in fantastic form," Head told reporters after play ended on the penultimate day at the Adelaide Oval with England 82-4.

"I have a lot of sympathy for him – it wasn't a great time to get hit.

"We got told to give him some space [on the pitch]. Starc on that line is never pretty and unfortunately with the day he [Root] has had it wasn't a great time to get hit.

"They've still got some quality players. Nathan Lyon will play a massive part, the ball is turning. It's a big day tomorrow."

England will need what would seemingly be a miracle on Monday, with Stokes – who delivered unlikely heroics at Headingley in 2019 against the same opposition – leading the charge.

England's fast-bowling coach Jon Lewis expressed his support for Stokes, who he believes is the best man for the task ahead, while hailing the valiant efforts of Root.

"Anytime one of your best players [Root] gets out, it's a knock," Lewis told reporters.

"Joe showed a hell of a lot of character to go out. There was no doubt in Joe's mind he was going out to bat and it shows what a great player and brilliant leader he is. 

"Since he got hit he stood up, he could have had a nightwatchman. He wants to show his team how hard he wants to try for the team.

"They will try to survive the day tomorrow to get ourselves out of this game with a draw. It's a big ask I know."

"Ben [Stokes] has done it before, he has done special things in an England shirt."

Mitchell Starc says he and Nathan Lyon may have also missed the second Ashes Test if they had not snubbed Pat Cummins at an Adelaide restaurant.

Australia captain Cummins was force to sit out the match at Adelaide Oval after the paceman was deemed to be a close contact with a positive coronavirus case at a restaurant.

Fellow fast bowler Starc and spinner Lyon dined at the same establishment, but were considered to be casual contacts with the person who had the virus.

Starc took 4-37 and Lyon claimed 3-58 as England meekly collapsed from 150-2 to 236 on day three in reply to 473-9 declared. Australia then closed in complete command on 45-1 in their second innings - leading by 282 runs.

Left-arm quick Starc revealed it could have been a very different story if Cummins had replied to his text message. 

He said: "It was just fortunate we were sitting outside. It was almost a bit of a p***-take because Pat didn't reply to my message so thought we'd sit away from him and sit outside so it's been a lucky one."

Starc says he did not lose any sleep fretting over whether dining out could have cost him another chance to exploit England's vulnerable batting line-up in a match Josh Hazlewood was ruled out of due to a side strain.

"Spinner [Lyon] didn't sleep. I slept quite fine, there wasn't much I could do about it after," he said.

It was revealed on Saturday that both sides will face stricter protocols for the Melbourne and Sydney Tests due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Players can only follow Starc and Lyon's lead and dine outside, while they must also socially distance with members of the public.

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley told SEN radio: "We need to make sure there's social distancing, so we ask everyone to be respectful in the public.

"That's the real shame because what we have seen is players wanting to interact with fans. That's been a feature of the Big Bash. But we've now got very clear protocols.

"As it comes to those on the field of play we need to make sure that people are operating in a really biosecure way."

Mitchell Starc says he and Nathan Lyon may have also missed the second Ashes Test if they had not snubbed Pat Cummins at an Adelaide restaurant.

Australia captain Cummins was force to sit out the match at Adelaide Oval after the paceman was deemed to be a close contact with a positive coronavirus case at a restaurant.

Fellow fast bowler Starc and spinner Lyon dined at the same establishment, but were considered to be casual contacts with the person who had the virus.

Starc took 4-37 and Lyon claimed 3-58 as England meekly collapsed from 150-2 to 236 on day three in reply to 473-9 declared. Australia then closed in complete command on 45-1 in their second innings - leading by 282 runs.

Left-arm quick Starc revealed it could have been a very different story if Cummins had replied to his text message. 

He said: "It was just fortunate we were sitting outside. It was almost a bit of a p***-take because Pat didn't reply to my message so thought we'd sit away from him and sit outside so it's been a lucky one."

Starc says he did not lose any sleep fretting over whether dining out could have cost him another chance to exploit England's vulnerable batting line-up in a match Josh Hazlewood was ruled out of due to a side strain.

"Spinner [Lyon] didn't sleep. I slept quite fine, there wasn't much I could do about it after," he said.

It was revealed on Saturday that both sides will face stricter protocols for the Melbourne and Sydney Tests due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Players can only follow Starc and Lyon's lead and dine outside, while they must also socially distance with members of the public.

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley told SEN radio: "We need to make sure there's social distancing, so we ask everyone to be respectful in the public.

"That's the real shame because what we have seen is players wanting to interact with fans. That's been a feature of the Big Bash. But we've now got very clear protocols.

"As it comes to those on the field of play we need to make sure that people are operating in a really biosecure way."

Australian captain Pat Cummins has sensationally been ruled out of the second Ashes Test against England, deemed a close contact of a person who received a positive COVID-19 test.

The news comes on the morning of the first day of the pink-ball Test at Adelaide Oval, with Queensland fast bowler Michael Neser confirmed to replace Cummins in the XI for his debut on Thursday.

Former skipper Steve Smith will captain Australia in the absence of Cummins in the day-night Test in Adelaide.

Cummins was dining at a restaurant on Tuesday and was sat nearby to someone who has since been confirmed as a positive coronavirus case.

The star paceman did not breach any biosecurity protocols and isolated as soon as he became aware of the situation. Cummins has since had a PCR test, which produced a negative result.

However, Cummins has been confirmed as a close contact by South Australia Health and will be required to isolate for seven days, ruling him out of the second showdown with rivals England.

Cricket Australia (CA) said it anticipated Cummins will be available to play in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG in Melbourne.

"Cummins is understandably very disappointed not to be able to captain Australia for the day-night Test in Adelaide," CA said in a statement.

The 28-year-old fast bowler had led Australia to a nine-wicket victory in the Ashes opener as skipper in Brisbane, after taking over from Tim Paine.

Smith's deputising marks the first time he will have captained his country since the controversial 2018 sandpaper-gate Test match in Cape Town, which led to his dismissal as skipper and 12-month suspension.

Australia may have dodged a further bullet, revealing Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon were also dining at the same restaurant but at a separate table outdoors.

Both have been deemed casual contacts by SA Health and are free to play.

Nathan Lyon said his long-awaited 400th Test wicket was a "big relief" after the Australia spinner helped the hosts crush England in the Ashes opener.

Lyon became only the third Australian to achieve the feat in Saturday's nine-wicket victory over rivals England inside four days at the Gabba.

After almost a year of waiting, Lyon brought up the milestone as Australia claimed 77-8 to roll England for 297 in the first session in Brisbane, where the tourists had resumed on 220-2 before the sensational collapse.

Australia were set 20 runs for victory and easily reached the total following lunch, despite the loss of Alex Carey, but it was all about Lyon after the first Test.

"Relief, because I'm not so much on personal milestones I had a lot of banter going on so it probably wasn't on my mind a lot more," Lyon told reporters after finishing 4-91 to take his Test haul to 403 from 101 matches.

"But I say the next wicket is hardest to get but yes, it was a big relief."

Before Lyon, only Shane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563) had taken 400 wickets or more for Australia.

Lyon – who had waited since January to join the exclusive club – also became the seventh spin bowler to take 400 wickets in men's Test cricket.

"It hasn't really hit me to be honest," Lyon, 34, said. "I'll get my phone and call my family and friends and that will probably hit a little closer to home.

"But it's something I'm very proud of, there's no doubt about that. It's been some hard toil to get it, but very rewarding."

Asked if he was less nervous now after ending his wait, Lyon replied: "I'm nervous because I care. I care about everyone in that changing room, I care about the result and playing cricket and representing Australia. I'm not nervous because I'm scared of failing.

"[Captain] Pat [Cummins] was extremely calm as captain ... I think when Australia play their best cricket, we're calm and playing with smiles on our faces and enjoying it. Pat really hit that home."

England fell to pieces in a day-four Ashes collapse as Australia ruthlessly wrapped up the opening Test by nine wickets behind Nathan Lyon's historic performance.

Australia celebrated a comprehensive victory at the Gabba, where England lost eight wickets in the morning session to set the hosts just 20 runs to win, which they scored post-lunch with the loss one wicket.

Lyon had become only the third Australian bowler to reach 400 wickets as England capitulated all out for 297 in Brisbane on Saturday – the spinner leading his nation's charge with 4-91.

England emerged on the fourth day with renewed hope after Joe Root and Dawid Malan mounted a fine rear-guard on Friday – the pair's stance leading the tourists to 220-2.

 

But England's revival quickly diminished as they crumbled and were eventually all out before lunch – losing eight wickets for just 77 runs.

Lyon sparked the collapse in the fourth over of the day, the milestone man got Malan (82) to edge onto his pad for Marnus Labuschagne to take a sharp catch at silly mid-off with the second new ball approaching, snapping a 162-run partnership.

Root added three runs to his overnight score before he fell to Cameron Green (2-23) and Ollie Pope (4) followed his captain back to the pavilion the very next over after attempting to cut a Lyon delivery, instead punching to Steve Smith at slip.

Australia sniffed blood and England simply had no answer as Pat Cummins (2-51) and Josh Hazlewood (1-32) got the wickets of Ben Stokes (14) and Jos Buttler (23), with Lyon cleaning up the tail, alongside Green.

After lunch, Marcus Harris (9 not out) hit the winning boundary to clinch Australia's victory following Alex Carey's dismissal for 9.

 

Lyon joins exclusive club

Before Lyon, only Shane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563) had taken 400 wickets or more for Australia. The spinner joined the club after finally ending his quest for the milestone, having waited almost a year. Lyon became the seventh spin bowler to take 400 wickets in men's Test cricket.

Carey makes history

The Gabba opener marked a Test debut for wicketkeeper Carey, who stepped in behind the stumps after former skipper Tim Paine opted to take a break from cricket. Carey capitalised, marking his bow with eight catches – becoming the first player in Test cricket to achieve the number on debut.

England's Jack Leach has said Ben Stokes' return to the squad is a "great boost" ahead of the start of the Ashes series in Australia.

Stokes has not played competitively since July and was initially omitted from England's squad as he recovered from a second operation on a broken finger and took a break to protect his mental wellbeing, but the all-rounder was subsequently added to the travelling party.

Stokes famously partnered Leach in a last-wicket stand of 76 to dramatically beat the Aussies in the third Test at Headingley in 2019.

"Obviously having Stokesy back is a great boost for all of us," Leach said. "Some of the things he's done in the past, you know, he's such an important player for us.

"In terms of the balance, it really helps things out, and it's probably good news for the spin department.

"The wickets aren't necessarily going to be really spin-friendly, but I think spin has as a big part to play in Ashes series where England have been successful.

"The spinners have got a big part to play. So, yeah, I'm hopeful I can be the guy and play that role, definitely."

On how Stokes has reintegrated into training and the squad, Leach added: "Luckily, I haven't had to face him in the nets. But yeah, he's looking really good.

"He's fit back into the group brilliantly. It's great to have him back around.

"He's been brilliant and he's such a team man. I think the group is only better for having him in it. He brings experience, I think he really brings the boys together, so that's been really good.

"He's looking good bowling and batting. I've bowled at him and he doesn't block too many balls from the spinners, so yeah, he's looked good."

Leach is hopeful of playing a part in the upcoming series, and admitted to regularly watching his Australian counterpart Nathan Lyon to pick up tips and tricks to improve his own bowling.

"I'm preparing to play, definitely. Like I do for every series that I'm involved with," he added. "For me, the best way to go about it, obviously is to try to prepare to play, and then obviously be really disappointed if I'm not.

"For years I've watched Nathan Lyon, and he's very impressive how he goes about his business. Just how strong his stock ball is and on wickets that don't necessarily offer a lot spin-wise, I think he's found ways to extract bounce and dip. So a lot over spin from him, and I think those are the kind of things I've been trying to add in.

"You take little bits from everyone you play against. I was in India looking at Axar Patel, [Ravi] Ashwin and seeing what I can take from them. So you're always doing that.

"But I think it's important not to get too caught up in that and also just stick to your strengths as well, and know that you're playing at this level for a reason."

Nathan Lyon insisted "the best gloveman in the world" Tim Paine must play for Australia after the wicketkeeper resigned as captain over inappropriate behaviour.

Paine stepped down from his Test captaincy role last Friday over a historical investigation into lewd texts sent to a former Cricket Tasmania colleague in 2017.

The 36-year-old, who at the time was found not to have breached Cricket Australia's conduct code and remained captain, is still in Australia's Ashes squad to face England, though a new leader is yet to be announced.

Batter Marcus Harris previously stated Paine has "got all the support of the players" and Lyon has echoed that sentiment towards the wicketkeeper, who was appointed captain in 2018 following Steve Smith's ball-tampering scandal ban.

"I can 100 per cent guarantee he has the full support of the Australian changeroom," Lyon told reporters as Australia prepare for the first Ashes Test on December 8.

"I don't see him as a distraction at all. Come the Gabba Test match and throughout the whole series, we are professional sportspeople, and we will go out and do our job.

"Tim made a mistake, he's owned it, for me that shows great courage to be honest. Tim has got my full support. I am looking forward to catching up as soon as we get out of quarantine.

"In my eyes, Tim is the best gloveman in the country, in the world.

"The selectors said they were going to pick the best available XI and in my eyes Tim Paine is the best keeper in the world. I want him. This is very selfish, from a bowler's point of view, I want the best gloveman behind the stumps."

Off-spinner Lyon and wicketkeeper Paine have formed a strong partnership for Australia but failed to combine for a single wicket against India in the Test series loss last time out.

Since then, Paine has undergone neck surgery in September before returning to action for Tasmania's second XI against South Australia.

Pat Cummins and Steve Smith have reportedly been interviewed by Cricket Australia amid ongoing speculation the pair will step in as captain and vice-captain respectively, much to Lyon's excitement.

"You have a bowler's mindset and a batter's mindset rather than two batters; they can come together and really come up with some good guidance," Lyon said. "I am excited by the fact we are potentially going to have a bowler as captain."

Australia will head to the Gabba with added confidence as well after their T20 World Cup win in the United Arab Emirates, and Lyon claimed there is still a buzz around the camp despite Paine's resignation.

"The mood is incredible," he said. "On the back of the boys winning the World Cup, there are only nine guys here who were part of that, but the staff too, there is an unbelievable feeling in the Australian cricket changerooms right now.

"Our preparation is flying along. I'm ready to go."

Australia spinner Nathan Lyon is expecting Ben Stokes to earn a late Ashes call-up and says he is eager to come up against England's star all-rounder.

Stokes missed England's home contests against India earlier in 2021 after announcing in July he was taking time off for his mental wellbeing and to allow a broken index finger to recover.

A second operation on that injury earlier this month preceded Stokes being left out of an initial 17-man squad for the five-Test Ashes series, which begins on December 8 in Brisbane, though he has since posted footage of him batting and bowling 

While a continued omission for Stokes, who is also not with England for the T20 World Cup, would obviously be a boost for Australia, Lyon remains hopeful he will go head-to-head with one of the best in the game.

"I'm expecting him to come. I'm expecting Stokes to be out here and, to be honest, I hope he is," Lyon told reporters at the Hurtsville Oval in Sydney, where the NSW Blues were playing an intra-squad practice match.

"You want to play against the best players in the world and Stokesy is the best all-rounder in the world. 

"He's an X-factor and he's a game-changer, and you want to play against these players, so I'm expecting Stokes to be here."

 

Stokes has 4631 runs in 71 Tests and a batting average of 37.04. With the ball, he has 163 wickets at an average of 31.38.

His absence would be a blow to an England batting line-up many feel is lacking in quality depth.

That is not an opinion shared by Lyon, though, who says he has a few surprises up his sleeve for Australia's greatest cricketing enemy.

"I've always got a couple of mystery balls," he said. "That's been the beauty about this pre-season, it's been my first ever proper pre-season. 

"I've been able to do a lot of fitness work and a lot of skills work. I've already started looking at a couple of England's batters, so that's exciting.

"They've got some very talented batters early in their Test careers. Look at Ollie Pope's last red-ball game. He got a pretty big double-hundred. 

"It's going to be a different challenge for these guys, coming out to Australia and we want that."

Australia bowlers Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon have called for an end to "rumour mongering and innuendo" around the 2018 ball-tampering scandal.

Then-captain Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were banned by Cricket Australia after all three were implicated in a plot to alter the condition of the ball with sandpaper during a 322-run defeat to South Africa at Newlands in March 2018.

Bancroft, who was caught on camera rubbing what was initially thought to be yellow sticky tape on the ball, was punished along with Smith and Warner, the latter as vice-captain also part of Australia's "leadership group".

Head coach Darren Lehman was cleared of any wrong-doing at the time and later stepped down, while the bowling attack of Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins and Lyon were also said to be in the dark.

In an interview with The Guardian last weekend, Bancroft was asked whether the bowlers knew what was going on and replied: "Uh … yeah, look, I think, yeah, I think it's pretty probably self-explanatory."

Cricket Australia invited Bancroft to come forward with any further information after it conducted a full investigation at the time.

In a joint statement published on Starc's website, the Australian bowlers stridently denied any wrongdoing and said it was "time to move on".

"We pride ourselves on our honesty. So it’s been disappointing to see that our integrity has been questioned by some journalists and past players in recent days in regard to the Cape Town Test of 2018," the statement read.

"We have already answered questions many times on this issue, but we feel compelled to put the key facts on the record again.

"We did not know a foreign substance was taken onto the field to alter the condition of the ball until we saw the images on the big screen at Newlands."

Umpires Nigel Long and Richard Illingworth inspected the condition of the ball after Bancroft appeared to tamper with it and did not find enough damage to change it – something Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins and Lyon chose to highlight.

The statement added: "None of this excuses what happened on the field that day at Newlands. It was wrong and it should never have happened.

"We've all learned valuable lessons and we'd like to think the public can see a change for the better in terms of the way we play, the way we behave and respect the game. Our commitment to improving as people and players will continue.

"We respectfully request an end to the rumour-mongering and innuendo. It has gone on too long and it is time to move on."

Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon mocked England's team selection for their third Test hammering by India – declaring the spectacle on a sharply turning pitch in Ahmedabad to be "absolutely brilliant".

The tourists recalled James Anderson and Jofra Archer to feature alongside Stuart Broad and all-rounder Ben Stokes, in anticipation of conditions in the day/night Test being favourable to seamers.

However, a volatile surface offered assistance to spinners from the very start, with England bundled out for 112 and 81 as they lost by 10 wickets.

India only managed 145 in their first innings and England skipper Joe Root claimed career-best figures of 5-8 with his part time off-spin.

Despite being a far more respected practitioner of that particular craft, Lyon insisted he had no qualms over a surface that drew criticism from former England captains Michael Vaughan, Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook.

"The best thing about this Test match that just passed is that England went in with four seamers," Lyon said, as quoted by cricket.com.au.

"That will do me. I don't need to say any more.

"I was up all night watching it. It was absolutely brilliant. I'm thinking about bringing that curator out to the SCG."

Lyon made a pointed reference to Australia's humiliating dismissals for 47 and 60 against South Africa and England in 2012 and 2015 respectively, when conditions favoured seam bowling.

"We play on seaming wickets around the world and get bowled out for 47, 60. Nobody ever says a thing [about the pitch]," he said.

"But as soon as it starts spinning, everyone in the world seems to start crying about it. I don't get it. I'm all for it, it was entertaining."

Despite Lyon's enjoyment of the latest match in the four-Test series, the result harmed Australia's prospects of reaching this year's World Test Championship final.

Only an England win in the final game can edge Tim Paine's side into the inaugural one-off showpiece against New Zealand at India's expense.

That would leave Australia out of action in the longest format until the start of their domestic season at the end of this year – an unhelpfully long time for speculation over ructions between coach Justin Langer and members of his team to fester.

"Me personally, if I had a problem with JL I'd go straight to him," Lyon added, casting doubt upon the rumours that emerged in the aftermath of Australia's humbling 2-1 home loss to an injury-ravaged India.

"But I don't have a problem with him. I don't understand where it's all coming from.

"I'd like to think anyone in that changing room or anyone at Cricket Australia or outside - if anyone has a problem with anyone, we're about being honest with each other."

India batsman Rohit Sharma insisted he had no regrets over the shot he played for what could prove to be a key dismissal in the fourth Test against Australia. 

The tourists closed day two on 62-2 in reply to Australia's 369 all out at the Gabba. 

Opener Rohit had moved to 44 before he tried to attack Nathan Lyon (1-10) and was caught out by a running Mitchell Starc. 

India only need a draw to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy but their task was made more difficult by losing Rohit, who twice made starts - scoring 26 and 52 – without pressing on during the draw in Sydney. 

"I was actually trying to pierce the long-on and that deep square-leg fielder, but it didn't connect the way I would have loved to," said the 33-year-old. 

"Pretty simple. It was something I won't regret. It is something I like to do.  

"I like to put the pressure on the bowler once I am in, and that is my role in the team. To make sure I keep putting that pressure on the bowlers because we have seen throughout the series how run-scoring has been difficult for both the teams. 

"Someone needs to put his hand up and think about how we can put the pressure back on the bowlers and while doing that there are chances you will make a mistake. 

"You should be ready to accept that. I am ready to accept that because it was a plan. It was something that we always planned."

Rohit added: "I actually have no regrets playing that shot. It is something I like to do.  

"Just that Nathan Lyon - we all know he is a smart bowler - bowled into me, which made it difficult for me to get some elevation. 

"It is not coming out of nowhere. It is a shot that I play. And I have played it very well in the past. It is something that I really back myself to do all the time. That is the kind of role I play in this team.  

"Yes, when it looks like that, it looks bad, but that is something I don't think too much into." 

Sunil Gavaskar was among the former players to criticise the shot selection from Rohit, who is opening the batting in Test cricket for the first time away from home during this series. 

"I have opened for India in limited overs for a long time and it is time for me to test myself in this longer format as well," added Rohit. 

"The team has shown confidence in my ability at the top. Just that I have to do what the team expects me to do.  

"Not to worry about what happens anywhere else and what people talk about me. The team expects me to play a certain role at the top of the order, and I will try to do that as much as I can." 

Only 54.2 overs were bowled due to rain on day two. Cheteshwar Pujara (8) and Ajinkya Rahane (2) were unbeaten when stumps were called, with India 307 runs adrift.

Australia were left frustrated as day two of the fourth Test against India was cut short after rain in Brisbane.

Only 54.2 overs were bowled at the Gabba on Saturday as India reached 62-2 in response to Australia's first-innings 369.

Heavy rain delayed the start of the final session before a wet outfield meant play was abandoned.

Tim Paine scored a half-century for Australia as T Natarajan (3-78), Washington Sundar (3-89) and Shardul Thakur (3-94) took three wickets each for India.

Rohit Sharma (44) wasted his start as he tried to attack Nathan Lyon (1-10) after Pat Cummins (1-22) had Shubman Gill (7) caught at second slip by Steve Smith.

Cheteshwar Pujara (8) and Ajinkya Rahane (2) were unbeaten when stumps were called, with India 307 runs adrift in the final Test of a series that is locked at 1-1.

Injury-hit India continued to fight and they only need a draw to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Australia, though, will also lament some of their batting that could have put India under more pressure.

Starts squandered as tail wags for Australia

Marnus Labuschagne made a century on Friday, but four other batsmen made more than 36 but failed to go on for Australia.

Paine (50) and Cameron Green (47) joined that group on day two as they squandered promising starts, with Lyon (24) – playing his 100th Test – and Mitchell Starc (20 not out) lifting Australia beyond 350.

Reckless Rohit hurts India

Like many in the Australia line-up, Rohit wasted another opportunity to put together a big score in Brisbane.

He looked in control before attempting to take on Lyon one too many times, and a running Starc took a good catch. The 33-year-old is one of India's more experienced players and his dismissal left the tourists at 60-2. It comes after he made scores of 26 and 52 in Sydney.

Page 1 of 2
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.