Shattered Lyon ‘will move on’ from Headingley flop
AUSTRALIAN captains past and present are pitching in to try to help Nathan Lyon move on from his costly mistake in the third Ashes Test.
There were a handful of missed chances and half-chances that could have helped Australia stop Ben Stokes from levelling the series in jaw-dropping fashion at Headingley.
However, the most glaring came when Lyon fumbled Pat Cummins' return at the bowler's end and missed a golden opportunity to run out Jack Leach. If Lyon collected the ball cleanly and dislodged the bails, Australia would have retained the urn.
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It has not been a pleasant few days for Lyon, who twisted his ankle in Derby and was unable to complete the squad's touch football game designed to help them hit the reset button after a few days of soul searching.
The offspinner, who revisited the final chapter of Stokes' epic knock in a standard post-Test review with teammates, had already been rested from this week's tour game and is not in any doubt for the Old Trafford Test beginning on Wednesday.
However, it is unclear what state of mind he will be in.
"There's guaranteed to be some scarring from that ... a pretty simple chance but it happens," former skipper Ricky Ponting said.
Ponting watched the drama unfold from the commentary box then sent Lyon a text when he got back to his hotel in Leeds.
"His response - you could tell how shattered he was about the whole thing - but he'll move on. As I said to him, he's an absolute great of the Australian game and won so many games for Australia by himself."
Ponting went on to suggest Lyon could potentially overhaul Glenn McGrath's tally of 563 Test wickets, such is his skill.
Captain Tim Paine, Steve Smith and other squad members have tried to ensure Lyon understands his gaffe was one of many turning points - and is not representative of a Test career that has featured 357 wickets.
But also that there is more to life than cricket, a view Smith admits he may not have held prior to the Cape Town cheating scandal.
"I sent Nathan Lyon a message the other night. He was a bit down after the game," Smith said.
"I just said my year out has given me a lot of perspective.
"Whilst it's important on many levels to win and to play the right way and to do all those kind of things, ultimately it's just a game. I think that helped him a little bit."
Paine's first act as captain after the defeat was to literally pick Lyon up off the ground, something he has since been doing metaphorically.