Nathan Lyon.
Nathan Lyon has celebrated his 500th Test wicket during Australia's 360-run win against Pakistan. Image by Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS
  • cricket

Lyon snares Test scalp 500 as Australia crush Pakistan

Justin Chadwick December 17, 2023

Nathan Lyon has snared his 500th Test wicket and Mitchell Starc capitalised on a cracking Optus Stadium pitch as Australia wrapped up a 360-run victory over Pakistan in the first Test in Perth.

Australia declared at 5-233 soon after lunch on Sunday when Usman Khawaja was caught at deep third man for 90.

Mitch Marsh finished unbeaten on 63 off 68 balls, following his impressive 90 in the first innings.

There were plenty of demons in the wicket on day four, with Marsh sustaining two blows to the helmet and Khawaja painfully struck just under his right elbow.

Chasing 450 for victory, Pakistan were rolled for 89 in 30.2 overs, with Starc (3-31), Josh Hazlewood (3-13) and Lyon (2-14) sharing the spoils.

The most memorable moment belonged to Lyon, who had to wait until his seventh over of the day before claiming the wicket he needed to reach 500 Test scalps.

Lyon’s lbw shout against Faheem Ashraf was initially turned down, but Australia’s review proved successful as ball-tracking showed his delivery would have hit leg stump.

The crowd erupted and Lyon was hugged by each of his teammates when the DRS decision arrived.

He joins greats Shane Warne (708 wickets) and Glenn McGrath (563) as Australians to have cracked the magical 500 barrier.

The 36-year-old offspinner had his second wicket of the innings four balls later when his delivery stayed low and crashed into the stumps to dismiss Aamir Jamal.

Lyon said raising 500 was a special moment.

But he was quick to shift the praise to Marsh and Khawaja, who combined for a 116-run partnership in tricky conditions that allowed Pat Cummins to declare.

“I don’t think we’ve talked enough about the partnership between Usman and Mitch Marsh on a challenging wicket against quality bowlers,” Lyon said.

“To have a 100-run partnership and give Pat the chance to declare and put us in a really strong position in the game … hats off to them.” 

Pakistan’s hopes of pulling off the largest successful fourth-innings run chase in Test history evaporated early as Starc removed openers Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq.

Babar Azam fell to Cummins for 14 soon before lunch, and Pakistan were in dire straights at 5-56 when Sarfaraz Ahmed edged Starc to gully.

Agha Salman was run out after a disastrous mix-up to make it 6-63, and from there it was the Lyon and Hazlewood show as Australia stormed to victory and a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.

Usman Khawaja.
 Usman Khawaja made a sparkling 90 to help Australia set Pakistan a near impossible run chase. Image by Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS 

Earlier in the day, Khawaja required medical treatment after being hit just below his right elbow by a 136km/h Aamir Jamal delivery.

A sizeable bump soon formed on Khawaja’s arm, and Marsh also sustained two blows to the helmet.

It came after Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith were battered by the unpredictable pitch late on day three.

Cummins had no qualms with the surface, saying he would personally love to play on a deck like that more often.

“We play on a lot of wickets where it’s really flat and you fill your boots as a batter,” Cummins said.

“The second innings here for both teams was more difficult than first. But as you saw, there was plenty of runs there if you got out there.

“It’s probably a bit more (activity) than you ideally want on a day four wicket, but there was a lot of cricket before that to set up the game.”

MOST TEST WICKETS BY AN AUSTRALIAN:

708 – Shane Warne

563 – Glenn McGrath

501 – Nathan Lyon*

355 – Dennis Lillee 

338 – Mitchell Starc*

313 – Mitchell Johnson 

(* denotes: still playing)