Galle, (AFP): Australian debutant Nathan Lyon said taking five wickets in the first Test against Sri Lanka on Thursday was like living a dream.
|Australia's Nathan Lyon jumps (above) as he celebrates with teammates after completing five wickets during the second day of their first test cricket match against Sri Lanka in Galle September 1, 2011. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte (SRI LANKA – Tags: SPORT CRICKET)|
“It’s been the best couple of days of my life,” the 23-year-old off-spinner said after claiming 5-34, including a wicket with his first ball, to put Australia in command at the Galle International Stadium.
“To receive the baggy green cap from (former Australian captain) Greg Chappell before the match and then take five wickets on debut is something pretty special. “I will hold it really close to my heart.”
Sixteen wickets fell on the dusty, deteriorating track during the eventful second day’s play which ended with the tourists enjoying a lead of 283 runs with four wickets in hand.
Lyon’s five-wicket haul – in only his sixth first-class match – helped Australia skittle Sri Lanka out for 105 after they were themselves restricted to 273 in the first innings.
The tourists closed the day at 115-6 in their second knock, setting the stage for an early finish in the opening contest of the three-match series.
Lyon never looked back after removing Kumar Sangakkara with his first delivery in Test cricket — the first Australian in 117 years to achieve the feat.
Brought on after the morning drinks break, he had Sangakkara edging the first ball towards the slips where Clarke dived to his left to take a low catch.
Lyon, who served on the Adelaide Oval groundstaff till a year ago, then ran through the tail to justify his much-criticised selection for the tour. He is only the 14th bowler in history to take a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket, and the second Australian since Arthur Coningham did it against England in 1894.
Lyon said he was surprised when Sangakkara edged the ball. “I would not say it was the perfect ball,” he said. “I thought it was a bit wide, but I was quite happy with it in the end. I could not breathe in the middle. I was just full of so much excitement. The biggest highlight was just walking into the field as part of the Australian team.”
Lyon said he hoped for similar surfaces in the remaining two Tests in Pallekele and Colombo. “Having such a wicket is fantastic,” he said. “I want to take it everywhere.”