'GOAT' Lyon ends long wait, enters 400-club

Nathan Lyon
Nathan Lyon greets the crowd after picking up his 400th Test wicket. Photo: AFP/Patrick Hamilton

It took nearly a year longer than Australia hoped but Nathan Lyon ended his agonising wait for a 400th Test victim in style on Saturday during a match-winning four-wicket haul that sent England crashing to a stinging Ashes defeat at the Gabba.

The shaven-headed 34-year-old had been denied the milestone at the same venue in January where Australia lost the series-decider to India.

He then failed to grab a wicket during England's first innings 147 on day one and toiled fruitlessly through a big shift on day three, seeing edges drop short and balls whistle past the stumps.

Then, finally, the rush of relief.

Luring Dawid Malan forward in his second over on Saturday, Lyon deceived the England No. 3 with a sharply dipping ball and produced a bat-pad catch for Marnus Labuschagne.

Pandemonium erupted in the terraces while Lyon was mobbed by his teammates as he became only his country's third bowler to join the 400-club after legspinner Shane Warne (708) and paceman Glenn McGrath (563).

Though not one for personal milestones, Lyon admitted it was a big relief to tick it off.

"I’ve got a lot of my best mates in that change room. They tend to remind me enough, (ask) if I intend to have 400 on my shoes like Pidge (McGrath) or run around like Warney, so I had a lot of banter going on," he told reporters.

"It’s something that I’m very proud of, there’s no doubt about that. It’s been some hard toil to get it but it’s very rewarding."

Far and away his country's most prolific off-spinner, Lyon has been known as the 'GOAT' for years, as well as 'Garry' or 'Gazza' by teammates after a retired champion Australian footballer.

His rapid transformation from Adelaide Oval groundskeeper to Test spinner in a year is etched in Australian cricket folklore.

The words 'Nice, Garry!' or 'Bowling, Gaz," by wicketkeepers and teammates in the slips have become part of the fabric of the Australian summer.

Lyon continued to punish England by grabbing another three to finish with 4/91 and help Australia wrap up a thumping nine-wicket win.

It came after Warne, now a TV pundit, had said Lyon was bowling for his future against England after a disappointing series against India.

Captain Pat Cummins never had any such doubts.

"He came out today and showed why he’s one of the greatest of all time," he said.

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