CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh: Nathan Lyon spun Australia to a series-levelling win over Bangladesh on Thursday with a 13 wicket match-haul in the second and final Test.
Chasing 86 for victory on a deteriorating Chittagong pitch, the visitors lost their top three batsmen before completing a seven-wicket win in the final session of the fourth day.
Glenn Maxwell, who hit the winning six to take his score to 25, and Peter Handscomb, on 16, helped Australia bounce back from their loss in Dhaka last week.
Bangladesh had been on a high after their historic first Test win over Australia. But Lyon brought them back to earth with a bump this time.
The off-spinner, who received the man of the match award, set up the win for the Steve Smith-led side after returning career-best match figures of 13-154.
Lyon claimed a third successive six-wicket haul to dismiss Bangladesh for 157 in their second innings. He took his series tally to 22 wickets, the most by an Australian bowler in a two-match contest.
Opener David Warner also stood out with two successive centuries in the series including 123 in Australia’s first innings that helped secure a crucial 72-run lead.
“We played some good cricket at times. To restrict them to what we did in the first innings was great. There wasn’t a great deal in the surface for Lyon, but he was remarkable,” Smith said of Lyon’s 7-94 that helped restrict Bangladesh to 305 in the first innings.
“I think he took 22 wickets for the series so that was a really good effort…. But credit to Bangladesh they really made us fight throughout the series,” he added.
The hosts lost their grip after bowling out Australia for 377 in their first innings without adding a run to the overnight total.
But Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim believed the home batsmen were not good enough after electing to bat first.
“Credit to Australia. The wicket was pretty good to bat on, we missed out in the first innings. That’s what cost us. We should’ve got 350 at least,” said Mushfiqur.
“Win or lose, there are a lot of areas of improvements. Our batsmen made things tough for themselves, hopefully we’ll learn,” he added.
Mushfiqur managed a top score of 31 off 103 balls in Bangladesh’s second essay. But none of the other batsmen could cope with a pitch that brought joy to Lyon.
– Highs and lows –
Bangladesh started the day on a high, dismissing number 11 batsman Lyon in the second over of the day.
But Lyon returned to pick up regular wickets as Bangladesh slipped to 83-5 at lunch.
A 54-run sixth-wicket stand between Mushfiqur and Sabbir Rahman steadied the innings briefly but an unrelenting Lyon got Sabbir stumped for 24.
Mushfiqur fell to fast bowler Pat Cummins after being caught behind, leaving his side in dire straits.
Cummins and Steve O’Keefe, who combined with Lyon to wipe off the tail in the final session of play, took two wickets each.
With meagre room for manoeuvre in the fourth innings, Bangladesh had early success when Mustafizur Rahman dismissed Warner, who shared the man of the series award with Lyon, for eight.
Spinners Shakib Al Hasan and Taijul Islam then took the wickets of Steve Smith for 16 and Matt Renshaw for 22 to leave Australia at 48-3.
But Handscomb and Maxwell then dug in and saw Australia home with their unbroken 39-run stand.
Australia now travel to India where they will play five one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches between September 17 to October 13.—AFP