Lyon’s 500 Test wickets: By the numbers

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Nathan Lyon has become only the eighth man in Test cricket to take 500 wickets, and just the third Australian after Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath.

Since his debut in 2011, Lyon has been a supremely consistent wicket-taker for Australia in 123 Tests, and as seen with the rare company he has joined in the 500-wicket club, his stats show him to be one of the game’s best bowlers.

Here are a few of the key numbers that have stood out in Lyon’s path to 500 wickets.


Number of balls in Test cricket it took Nathan Lyon to claim his first wicket. Lyon was the 17th man in Test cricket to take a wicket with their first delivery when he claimed Kumar Sangakkara in Galle in 2011. Lyon went on to claim 5-32.

Nathan Lyon’s wicket with his first ball in Test cricket in 2011Credit: FoxSports


The number of times Lyon has taken five wickets in an innings. It is the 18th highest tally in Test history.


Lyon’s most wickets in an innings came when he took 8-50 against India in 2017 at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.

Nathan Lyon celebrates his 8-50 in Bangalore in 2017.Credit: AP


Unlucky for some – but mostly Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara. That’s the number of times Nathan Lyon has taken the wicket of his most claimed bunny, having faced off against him in 23 Tests.


The number of pink-ball wickets taken by Lyon. He has the second-highest tally of wickets in day-night Tests, behind Mitchell Starc. The pair have played the most (11) pink-ball Tests, however.


Statistically the most prolific calendar year in Nathan Lyon’s career, when he claimed 63 Test wickets at an average of 23.5, with five five-wicket hauls. It featured an 18-wicket tally on a tour of India, and the majority of Australia’s successful defence of the Ashes at home.

Nathan Lyon celebrates the wicket of Jermaine Blackwood against the West Indies in a day-night Test last year.Credit: Getty


The win percentage of Australia’s Test team without Nathan Lyon, in the period since his debut in 2011. Australia have won just one Test from seven without Lyon on board, via injury or non-selection. With Lyon in the side from, the Test team has a 53 per cent win percentage.


In June at Lords, Lyon became only the sixth player to ever play 100 Tests in a row, and the first bowler. Aussie batsmen Allan Border and Mark Waugh had previously reached the milestone. Ironically, in that Test Lyon tore his calf muscle and was ruled out of the rest of the Ashes.


Outside of Bangladesh, Lyon’s best bowling average across his career has come against New Zealand. He has 50 wickets in 10 Tests against our cricketing cousins across the ditch.

Elation for Nathan Lyon and the Australians after the dismissal of Mohammed Siraj.Credit: Getty Images


The number of games Lyon played for South Australian teams before playing in his first Test in 2011. After moving from Canberra, Lyon was working as a greenskeeper at the Adelaide Oval when he won a call-up to the Adelaide Strikers in the BBL, and then subsequently played the last four games of the Sheffield Shield season for the Redbacks.


The most dominant method of Lyon’s dismissals has been caught, with 341 victims, followed by lbw (74), bowled (62) and stumped (23).

Nathan Lyon celebrates one of his five wickets on debut at Galle in 2011.Credit: AP


In well over half of Lyon’s wickets, the offspinner has dismissed the batsman for less than 20 runs. He’s claimed an impressive 36 per cent of his victims for single-figure scores.


The number of major Australian venues where Lyon was more dangerous than the Sydney Cricket Ground, which is supposedly the country’s most spin-friendly wicket. In order of averages, Lyon’s best home venues are Perth , Adelaide , Brisbane , Melbourne , Hobart and then Sydney .

Cheteshwar Pujara is Lyon’s bunny, having been dismissed 13 times.Credit: Getty Images


The age of Nathan Lyon when he attended a cricket clinic in Orange, in country NSW, attended by Kerry O’Keeffe. The former Australian spinner suggested Lyon take up tennis. “I was a hard marker back then, he has got better since, Gaz,” O’Keeffe joked.


Test wickets taken by Lyon when he wasn’t known by the nickname Garry, or by the public, anyway. The famous moniker emerged in 2016 when wicketkeeper Matthew Wade was heard to say “nice Gazza” behind the wickets, a nod to former AFL star Garry Lyon.

Nathan Lyon’s milestone victims

First wicket: Kumar Sangakkara, caught Michael Clarke (Galle, 2011)

50th wicket: Jacques Rudolph, caught Ed Cowan (Adelaide, 2012)

100th wicket: Stuart Broad, caught Michael Clarke (Melbourne, 2013)

150th wicket: Jos Buttler, caught Brad Haddin (Cardiff, 2015)

200th wicket: Dhananjaya de Silva, caught Usman Khawaja (Pallekele, 2016)

250th wicket: Taijul Islam, lbw (Dhaka, 2017)

300th wicket: Kagiso Rabada, stumped Tim Paine (Cape Town, 2018)

350th wicket: Ben Stokes, caught Tim Paine (Edgbaston, 2019)

400th wicket: Dawid Malan, caught Marnus Labuschagne (Brisbane, 2021)

450th wicket: Alazarri Joseph, bowled (Adelaide, 2022)

500th wicket: Faheem Ashraf, lbw (Perth, 2023)

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