Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon reflected on his team’s urn-retaining effort in England and revealed how a conversation with Steve Waugh helped him feel better after letting slip a clear-cut opportunity to win the epic Headingley Test.
The 2019 Ashes was one of the most dramatic Test series in recent times. It finished with England securing a comfortable win in the final Test, but not before Australia had retained the urn with a ‘nerve-wracking’ win in the previous Test in Manchester.
Having bossed most of the game, Australia always looked favorites to win by a big margin. However, a steely rearguard from the England lower order took the game into the last hour. When Josh Hazlewood finally trapped Craig Overton leg-before to secure a 185-run win, Australia heaved a collective sigh of relief as they succeeded in taking the urn back home from England for the first time since 2001.
Lyon said the wait for the final decision after Overton’s review of the on-field call was especially tense.
“It was one of the most nerve-wracking things I’ve been involved in, even though we knew it was out. I just remember that everyone was looking at the screen behind me, and I was facing the other way. As soon as it went red, if you look at the photos I’ve got Travis Head in my arms before he knew what was happening. It is one of the biggest highlights of my career, when we were able to stand up there as a team and lift up the urn at The Oval (after the final Test) ,” Lyon recalled.
Australia’s nervousness at Old Trafford must have stemmed from the drama that unfolded in the previous game at Leeds, when a magical Ben Stokes century earned England an improbable one-wicket win.