Lyon's 500 wickets
Nathan Lyon takes selfies with the fans after his landmark achievement of taking 500 Test wickets. Image by Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS
  • cricket

Cramping Nathan Lyon charges past 500 Test scalps

Justin Chadwick December 18, 2023

Star spinner Nathan Lyon says it took him about 40 Tests before he felt comfortable at the level, and he has no plans of slowing down any time soon.

Lyon became just the third Australian to snare 500 Test wickets when he claimed match figures of 5-80 in the series-opening 360-run victory over Pakistan in Perth.

The 36-year-old is eager to stretch his career to the 2027 Ashes in England, but for now he’s content to reflect on his remarkable journey to 500 Test wickets.

“It’s something I’m very proud about,” Lyon said after joining fellow Australians Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath in the exclusive 500 club on Sunday.

“I know it’s been a journey, that’s for sure.

“I was probably a good 40-odd Test matches into my Test career before I felt like I belonged at Test cricket and I knew how to perform at that level.”

The match against Pakistan marked Lyon’s first Test since tearing his calf during the Ashes in England in June.

Lyon said he felt a fair amount of anxiety during his Test return.

“I don’t think I’ve ever cramped after 10 overs and I was cramping in both calves,” Lyon said.

“But all in all I’ve pulled up really well.

“I’m feeling really confident in it and it’s just really nice to come back and contribute to a pretty amazing team win.”

Lyon has taken 501 wickets at an average of 30.85 across 123 Tests.

Australia captain Pat Cummins is backing Lyon to join Warne in the 700-wicket club.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that he’s probably the most important cog in our bowling line-up,” Cummins said.

“Most games, he’s bowling 30 overs a day and basically just put him down one end and he’s not going to go for many runs.

“He’s going to take a few wickets and then us quick bowlers can just rotate through the other end. 

“As a captain, it makes it a lot easier knowing that a bloke has played 100-odd Test matches and knows his craft and can bowl pretty much in any conditions.”

The bowling unit of Lyon, Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood has propelled Australia to amazing success for years now.

The bond between the quartet extends beyond the field, and Lyon loves having Cummins as his skipper.

“It probably helps when the bowling attacks are arguably your best mates,” Lyon said.

Australia can secure a series victory over Pakistan with a win in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.