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China v South Africa cricket series: No split between Nathan Lyon and Steve Smith, insists Darren Lehmann

Written By: admin - Sep• 14•19

Perth: have rallied around struggling spinner Nathan Lyon as it emerged Hobart’s fickle weather could further dampen a summer already spinning out of control.
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Crunched by 177 runs in the series opener in Perth, the ns made their way to Tasmania on Tuesday under increasing pressure and with much to debate.

The make-up of the XI for the second Test, beginning on Saturday, remains unclear, with selectors opting to backflip on their insistence the 12-man squad selected for Perth would remain.

Shaun Marsh will miss the rest of the series because of a fractured little finger on his left hand, and is likely to be replaced by Joe Burns at the top of the order.

But South n batsman Callum Ferguson comes into a 13-man squad, and appears on the cusp of a Test debut, which could come at the expense of Adam Voges, who is nursing a sore hamstring.

Darren Lehmann, a coach and selector, said Ferguson was not in the squad as injury cover for Voges, and could play regardless of whether Voges, under increasing pressure with the bat, took to the field.

“He’s, obviously, a good player, Callum, and knows his game really well. Certainly, over the last three or four years he has been close on various occasions and then had the knee injuries at the wrong time for him,” Lehmann said.

“So, he’ll go really well if he gets his chance. A good young man. Played a lot of cricket and knows his game.”

Having endured their fourth straight heavy Test defeat, and facing a third straight home series loss to the Proteas, the ns are under increasing pressure. Ferguson could even replace under-performing allrounder Mitch Marsh, who has yet to rubber-stamp his spot at No.6, although his bowling in Perth was robust.

“I would say every spot is under pressure. That’s the nature of the beast if you don’t have success. I thought he batted quite well and was a bit unlucky with the decision, but that is part of the game as well,” Lehmann said.

“Getting down to Hobart, (we’ll) have a look at the wicket, we’ll make up the side. Any of the 13 can play in the game. That (Ferguson selection) gives us a middle order (batsman) or an opener.”

Lehmann was also forced to defend the relationship between Lyon and skipper Steve Smith, coming after Smith overlooked his frontline spinner on the crucial morning session on Saturday.

Smith and Lehmann weren’t afraid to express their disappointment publicly about Lyon’s performances during the losing winter tour of Sri Lanka, which appeared to rankle Lyon. Lehmann insisted there were no issues between NSW teammates Lyon and Smith, who are good friends off the field.

“Yeah, they always see eye to eye. He (Lyon) bowled very well in the first innings, got a couple of wickets for us. Then in the second innings the captain went with reverse (swing from the fast bowlers) and that was fine, and Nathan understands that there are no problems,” he said.

“He bowled 10 overs in the middle session and then didn’t bowl, the captain went with the reverse again in the last session. That’s just the nature of the game sometimes. And then he, obviously, bowled a lot (on Sunday) and probably didn’t get the ball in the right areas as much as he would like.

“It didn’t spin, to be perfectly honest, at all really, for the whole game. So, he (Lyon) had a good record down in Hobart last year, had a really good game, so he’s fine. He and the captain get on very well, I expect him to bowl well.”

Lyon posted career-worst figures of 0-146 in the second innings in Perth. He claimed 3-43 in the first innings against the West Indies in Hobart last year.

Heavy rain is predicted for the opening two days in Hobart, meaning ‘s hopes of knotting the series will become even harder. But at least they will know the conditions – the Proteas have never played a Test at Bellerive.

“A bit of an advantage, but we will have to turn it around with the bat, more so than anything else. They outplayed us. They bowled us out with two bowlers and a couple of spinners. We will have to bat a lot better, we know that,” Lehmann said.

“We know the conditions really well so that’s a bonus for us, as you said, Adelaide is the same. Let’s get back to some good cricket in Hobart first and foremost.”

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