Adelaide: Australia offspinner Nathan Lyon on Monday recorded incredible figures of 50-31-49-3 in South Africa’ second innings during the gripping draw at the Adelaide Oval. His number of maiden overs (31) was the most in a Test innings since India's Dilip Doshi bowled 34 against New Zealand at Auckland in 1981.
Lyon's parsimonious figures were shaped by the South African batsmen's overtly watchful display against him. Set a target of 430, South Africa slumped to 45 for 4 with the 25-year-old taking the wickets of Hashim Amla in his second over and Jacques Rudolph in his sixth. Lyon's first spell in the second innings read 12-4-15-2 as the debutant Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers shut shop on the fourth evening and scored at a drip. Lyon's figures at the close of play on Sunday were 15-7-15-2.
On the final day, Lyon bowled seven spells including a final run of 11 overs, 11 maidens and one wicket as the tourists battled out a gripping draw. His break-up of spells on day five were: 5-4-7-0; 5-4-4-0; 1-0-1-0; 4-1-8-0, 4-3-2-0; 4-1-12-0; and 11-11-0-1. Lyon gave the match another twist with the wicket of Jacques Kallis, caught at short leg for 48 off an inside edge, but South Africa held out for a tense draw with two wickets in hand.
Interestingly, Lyon had been called on to bowl more than 30 overs in an innings by Australia captain Michael Clarke just once in four prior Test series against Sri Lanka, South Africa, New Zealand and India. Before his marathon outing in Adelaide, Lyon had bowled 31 overs in the first innings against West Indies at Bridgetown, 29 in the second Test at Port of Spain, and 62.3 overs in the final Test at Port of Spain in April.
After bowling 37 overs in South Africa’s first innings on a lifeless Brisbane track last week, Lyon sent down 44 in the first innings of the second Test. In all, he bowled 94 overs in Adelaide.