BRISBANE: Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon is backing opener David Warner to come out firing when the two-Test series against Pakistan begins on Thursday in Brisbane.
Warner endured his worst Test series during the Ashes campaign earlier this year, scoring 95 runs at a very poor average of 9.5.
But the 33-year-old has found form since in the T20 arena, being dismissed just once across six innings against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Warner plundered unbeaten scores of 100, 60, 57 and 48 during his recent golden run, with his confidence sky high heading into the first Test at the Gabba.
Lyon feels Warner has put the disappointment of the Ashes behind him.
Warner fell to England paceman Stuart Broad in seven of his 10 digs in the Ashes.
“Dave is a world-class player. I’m expecting him to come out here and play exceptionally well,” Lyon told reporters on Saturday at Brisbane Airport.
“No doubt, he would have been down and disappointed about the Ashes that he had. But he was still part of the side to go over there and retain the Ashes, which is pretty bloody special, if you ask me.”
Lyon said Warner had learnt from that experience.
Australia will boast Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood in their arsenal.
“I know when I’m bowling to someone who I’ve got the wood over, it can play on their mind,” Lyon said. “So no doubt, Davey would have felt the pressure. But it’s one of those things where you need to accept the challenge and move on and try to get better.”
The pace battle between Australia and Pakistan is set to be a major drawcard at the Gabba.
Pakistan have the options to unleash 16-year-old excitement machine Nasim Shah, 19-year-olds Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mohammad Musa Khan, and the impressive Mohammad Abbas.
But Lyon has a message — don’t forget about me.
While the juicy Gabba deck is traditionally a paceman’s paradise, Lyon has also thrived at the venue, snaring 33 wickets at an average of 27.7 over eight Tests.
“For the last eight or nine years I’ve been playing Test cricket here, everyone’s been talking about playing four quicks every time I come here,” Lyon said.
“I love playing cricket here. I think it’s a good contest between bat and ball. Personally, I find I get a fair amount of bounce and a bit of spin over the last couple of years as well.”
Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2019