'Bangladesh have the momentum'
Nathan Lyon walked into the media room at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday around half an hour after he, as the nightwatchman, was the last to fall on a 13-wicket day that saw Bangladesh out for 260 and Australia teetering at 18 for three. Given the state of the game after the first day of the first Test, for a man who prides himself on not being 'about personal success', his cheery demeanour could not be explained away solely by the fact that he surpassed Richie Benaud in the Australian wicket-takers' chart and became the eighth Australian to 250 Test wickets.
"It's in the balance to be fair," Lyon said when asked about the state of the game, not without a little of the sportsman's stubbornness. "You can probably look at Bangladesh who have the momentum at the moment. [But] to lose the toss and bowl a team out for 260 or under 300 is always a good result for a bowling team. It's not ideal losing three wickets but that's the game.
"We've got two very good batsmen [at the crease], one's the number one batter in the world and Matt Renshaw is a very talented young cricketer. There're no demons in that pitch yet so it's a good opportunity for our batters."
He was fulsome in his praise for the partnership of the day, a 155-run stand that could possibly separate the sides once the Test is done and dusted.
"Tamim [Iqbal] and Shakib [Al Hasan] took the game on, which is what you have to do in such conditions," said Lyon after the day's play. "They were brave in their batting and played some incredible shots. Hats off to them."
He gave credit to Pat Cummins for the early-three-wicket spell that enabled Australia to get into the match after losing a crucial toss.
"I think Patty cracked the game open for us. Patty's an unbelievable bowler, so is Josh [Hazlewood]. The amount of effort that goes in from those two to go in and perform like they did in those types of conditions. It was pretty tough out there, I'm not going to lie. It was probably one of the toughest days I've had in Test cricket with the heat and the humidity."
A veteran of 68 Tests, Lyon expressed a bit of surprise that the pitch started turning from the word go, but expressed confidence in his spin attack pitted against Bangladesh's spin trio of Mehedi Hasan Miraz, Shakib and Taijul Islam. "Your spinners have to bowl well and bowl well in partnerships and be consistent. That's what myself, Ashton [Agar] and Glenn Maxwell are trying to do, be as consistent as possible and challenge Bangladesh's defence, and that's going to be a big thing. I'm not really fazed by how many spinners there are in the Bangladeshi side -- they've got three, we've got three."
Lyon seemed comfortable about their chances. "We need to bat well, bat in partnerships and bat deep. I have faith in our batters to come out and do that tomorrow." He has been here 68 times, and gave the impression that he knows that Australia's current situation is no cause for alarm; there is a lot of work still to do for either side to tilt the scales that he said are currently balanced.