HE ignited the first day of The Ashes in extraordinary fashion, just as he had set the pre-series build-up ablaze.
After aiming a series of verbal grenades at the English, Nathan ‘Garry’ Lyon revved up an uninspired Australia team with a flamethrower piece of fielding to run out James Vince, 17 runs short of a maiden Test ton.
On the week of his 30th birthday, Lyon made himself the new Aussie folk devil for English cricket fans — and every Ashes series needs one of those.
Having mouthed off at the tourists for supposedly being ‘scared’ on their last humiliating visit Down Under, Lyon backed up his words with actions.
And now his team-mates want him to continue gobbing off, if it inspires him to bowl and field as well as he did on day one at the Gabba.
Pace ace Pat Cummins said: “I’ve told him, ‘You should say stuff before every game, if that’s the way it’s going to make you bowl!’
“He is loving the attention, he is one of those guys who loves to get in the contest.
“Gaz was our best bowler on the sub-continent recently and I’ve seen real confidence growing in him.
“He is one of the world’s best spinners at the moment, if not THE best. And as for the run-out, we have key performance indicators — and that was certainly the special effort for us on day one.”
Lyon is not a spinning genius like Shane Warne, but, with experience, has become a master of his craft.
The New South Wales man stunned team-mates as well as the English with the ferocity of his pre-match trash talking.
But while Lyon’s claim England would be terrified by Australia’s pace did not come to fruition on the first day, he tied down the batsman with high-quality spin.
Cummins added; “He bowled absolutely beautifully. How he didn’t end the first day with a six-for, let alone a one-for, I don’t know.”
We are going to hear a lot more of the ‘Nice, Garry!’ cries from Aussie fielders, which has become an Oz catchphrase.
Garry Lyon is an ex- Aussie rules star — and so Nathan was handed ‘Garry’ as his nickname by wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, who has since lost his place to Tim Paine.
Lyon swooped from point to light up the glowing bails when Vince went for a quick single off Josh Hazlewood, leaving the England No 3 short of his ground.
Whether it’s Nathan, Garry, the Cowardly Lyon or the Lizard of Oz, we’re going to be hearing a lot more of this little rascal.
England’s Ashes Test schedule
Nov 23-27 First Test (Brisbane)
Dec 2-6 Second Test (Adelaide)
Dec 14-18 Third Test (Perth)
Dec 26-30 Fourth Test (Melbourne)
Jan 4-8 Fifth Test (Sydney)