Nathan Lyon came hobbling out to bat as Australia set England a Lord’s record 371 to win the second Ashes Test on Saturday.
There had been doubts over whether Lyon, appearing in his 100th consecutive Test, would feature again in this match after suffering a calf injury while fielding on Thursday.
But the off-spinner received a standing ovation from spectators at the ‘Home of Cricket’ after coming out to bat with Australia 264-9.
For all his bravery, Lyon was still struggling to run.
And with runners no longer allowed in Test cricket, the match descended into farce as the only apparent way Australia could add to their total was by hitting boundaries.
Starc thought he had hoisted Stuart Broad for six, but the ball was knocked back in over the rope by substitute Rehan Ahmed.
The ball was in the air for such a long time, however, that a hobbling Lyon managed to compete a single.
With England putting all their fielders, bar wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, out in the deep a stalemate ensued.
Starc did hit a six and the courageous Lyon pierced the field with a pulled four off Broad.
Lyon’s defiant effort eventually came to an end after 13 balls when he holed out off Broad, the veteran paceman leading England’s attack with 4-65 as Australia were dismissed for 279 in their second innings.
He departed to a pat on the back from England captain Ben Stokes and a standing ovation from the crowd.
The 35-year-old Lyon’s gutsy presence in the middle was also a testament to Australia’s regard for England’s run-chasing ability.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) July 1, 2023
In the past year, Stokes’ men have achieved three of England’s highest fourth-innings run chases, including a national record 378 against India at Edgbaston in 2022.
The most any side have made to win in the fourth innings of a Test at Lord’s, however, is the West Indies’ 344-1 in 1984.
Ashes holders Australia, 1-0 up in the five-match contest, resumed on Saturday morning on 130-2, a lead of 221 runs.
Usman Khawaja, who made scores of 141 and 65 in Australia’s thrilling two-wicket win at Edgbaston last week, started Saturday unbeaten on 58.
Steve Smith was 6* following his 110 in Australia’s first-innings 416.
Australia were well-placed at 187-2, only to then lose three wickets for 10 runs as a trio of top-order batsmen were bounced out.
Khawaja fell for 77 to spark the collapse when he spooned a Broad bouncer straight to fine leg.
It was an out-of-character shot by the left-handed opener, who had repeatedly ducked the bouncer earlier in a 187-ball innings featuring 12 fours.
England persist with the short ball. and after 57 runs it works. 🤔
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) July 1, 2023
Travis Head was dropped first ball by James Anderson in the gully off fast bowler Josh Tongue.
But the next delivery saw Smith, on 34, hook a Tongue bouncer straight to Zak Crawley at deep backward square.
Head fell for just seven when the left-hander fended at a rising delivery from Broad, with Joe Root holding a superb one-handed catch at short leg.
Several England batsmen had been criticised after falling to an obvious hooking trap in their first innings, with some pundits questioning whether the hosts ‘Bazball’ attacking style had gone to their heads.
But the dismissals of experienced duo Khawaja and Smith were proof that Australia could also be bounced out, although the visitors did have the advantage of a sizeable lead.
© Agence France-Presse