For someone who waited nearly 12 months to warm up the vocal chords for Australia’s victory song, Nathan Lyon is surprisingly reluctant to sing his own praises.
The offspinner has modestly downplayed his personal victory over England spinner Graeme Swann as one of the decisive points of Australia’s Ashes win.
The 26-year-old was handed the honour of leading ‘Under the Southern Cross I Stand’ by the retiring Michael Hussey after the January Test this year.
After winless series in India and England he’s been getting accustomed to singing it as Australia took an unassailable 3-0 series lead – and he says he wants to belt it out two more times before the summer is over.
Unquestionably, Lyon is giving significant returns to the selectors who showed faith in him.
Initially overlooked for little-known Ashton Agar to start the previous Ashes series in England, Lyon was then outplayed by his opposite as Swann claimed a series-high 26 wickets.
But Swann has been well contained in Australia offering just seven wickets at a whopping 80 runs apiece.
And, crucially, he has been outbowled by the crafty Lyon who has made the most of the extra bounce in the local wickets.
While Lyon’s 10 wickets at 31 don’t scream off the page, it’s the times in which he’s taken them which have regularly given Australia the upper hand.
“It’s just great to contribute as a team member in an Ashes victory. It’s hard to answer that one,” Lyon said when asked about his personal victory over Swann.
“If I’m taking no wickets and Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris are taking all the wickets, I’m more than happy for that.
“We’re out there together, we bowl in partnerships and it’s a team game.”
Lyon’s two scalps in the first innings at the Gabba helped spark England’s remarkable collapse which set the tone for the series.
And when England’s gritty allrounder Ben Stokes was providing some healthy resistance while compiling a maiden Test century on day five at the WACA, it was Lyon again who stepped up.
Again it triggered a collapse of sorts, as England’s stoic defence crumbled in less than eight overs after lunch.