Australian spin spearhead Nathan Lyon was on Monday ruled out of the remainder of the Ashes series due to an injury in his right calf.
The 36-year-old off-spinner, who was playing his 100th consecutive Test for Australia, had suffered a “significant calf tear” while fielding on day two of the second Test that Australia won by 43 runs to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
He left the ground immediately and did not bowl or field after the injury but hobbled onto the pitch to bat in Australia’s second innings, adding 15 valuable runs.
Fellow off-spinner Todd Murphy is expected to replace Lyon in the third Test as Cricket Australia has not named any replacements.
The 22-year-old Murphy, who has only played 12 first-class games, had impressed in his maiden Test tour in India earlier this year.
He snared 14 wickets at 25.21 across four Tests, including seven for 124 on debut in Nagpur. He got the prized scalp of Virat Kohli as many as four times in the series.
However, it will be the first time Murphy will played as the sole spinner in a Test.
“His (Murphy) stock ball is good enough in international cricket. We have seen that in India in arguably the hardest place to bowl spin,” Lyon was quoted as saying by ‘cricket.com.au’.
“It will be a different challenge with the England batters. If they do come at him, it provides Todd with a decent challenge. But a chance to leave his footmarks here in England. It is a big Ashes series, he is excited by the opportunity,” he added.
While Lyon is not sure if he will be returning to Australia for rehab or staying back in England, the veteran spinner said he will be available to guide Murphy.
“I sat with Todd in the last session there (on day four) and spoke about spin bowling as we do. I have a lot of confidence in Todd. He is a great kid. He is willing to learn along the way.
“I have told him my phone is always on, it doesn’t matter if I am sitting in the changeroom with him or I am sitting at home watching it in bed,” Lyon said.
The third Ashes Test, scheduled to begin Thursday at Headingley, will be the first Test Lyon will miss since Lord’s in 2013.
“I’ve been extremely lucky with injuries. I’ve been around since August 2011 and we’ve had 126 Test matches and I’ve played 122 of them,” Lyon said.
“This is just a little speed bump in the road. This isn’t career-defining. I am hungrier than ever to get back out there.” Reserve batter Matthew Renshaw, who fielded for Lyon on the final day of the Lord’s Test, has been released from the squad but will remain in England and be available should injury strike the touring party again.
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