Ravichandran Ashwin continues to inadvertently mentor fellow offspinner Nathan Lyon, with the Australian desperate to learn from the tactical genius.
Ashwin showed exactly why he is ranked the world’s top Test bowler during the recent clash in Bangalore, grabbing 6-41 in the final innings as he spun India to a series-levelling victory.
No one has reached 250 wickets in fewer than 45 Tests, the record Ashwin set last month. It prompted former Australia captain Steve Waugh to declare Ashwin the “Bradman of bowling”.
Lyon, who is nursing a split callus on his spinning finger but considered in no doubt for the third Test that starts in Ranchi on Thursday, has been studying footage of Ashwin to help tweak his approach on the subcontinent.
“The way he constructs an over is one big thing,” Lyon said.
“I’ve been studying the way he bowls to left and right-handers in these conditions, the way he uses the crease.
“The different shapes he puts on the ball. We’re different bowlers, you can tell that when he comes out to Australia.
“He’s the best bowler in the world in these conditions. If I can learn off Ravi, hopefully that can put me in good stead.”
There are more than a few similarities between the tweakers, who both made Test debuts in 2011.
Both shot to prominence in their homelands because of Twenty20 cricket.
Ashwin wasn’t on the radar of selectors prior to excelling in the Indian Premier League, while Lyon was working as a groundsman at Adelaide Oval when a T20 call-up for South Australia led to a first-class debut then a baggy green.
Both are fiercely competitive, chatty on the field and have a knack of rubbing oppositions the wrong way.
Ashwin ignited the first of many spotfires in Bangalore last week when he gave Matt Renshaw and Steve Smith a spray early on day two, having been furious with Renshaw for blocking his path to the ball.
Lyon infuriated India skipper Virat Kohli during the match then declared the top-ranked Test side are “feeling the pressure a little bit … the pressure is right on India. There’s no pressure on us”.
Australia’s most experienced current player, with 65 Tests and 241 wickets to his name, is confident he can deliver in this week’s crunch clash.
“I feel like I’ve learned from past experiences in the subcontinent. I’m very confident in my game at the moment,” Lyon said.
“I’m confident that my stock ball can get any of the best batters in the world out.”