Nathan Lyon is only getting better with age, says his captain Tim Paine. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Nathan Lyon is only getting better with age, says his captain Tim Paine. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Bunnies piling up for Lyon king

AN endless supply of Test wickets for Australia through the Ashes is captain Tim Paine's prediction for Nathan Lyon after declaring the superstar spinner was only getting better.

Lyon, who at 31 is a relative baby as spinners go, roasted England with a nine-wicket haul at Edgbaston which included his 350th Test scalp.

He'll likely pass Dennis Lillee in the series, possibly as soon as the next Test at Lord's, and become the third highest Australian wicket-taker of all-time.

It's an unimaginable high station in the storeyed history of Australian cricket for an unassuming off-spinner who has grown from a sometimes expendable option early in his career in to the best spinner in the world.

Lyon is just three wickets behind the great "DK" now with 352 Test scalps, including out-of-answers England all-rounder Moeen Ali now nine times in his last 11 Ashes innings after getting him twice at Birmingham.

He never looked like not getting Ali out in his final day rout, taking 6-49, his 15th five-wicket haul, which included being on a hat trick after he removed Stuart Broad for a first ball duck.

Lyon celebrates a wicket on day five. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Lyon celebrates a wicket on day five. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

But the bunnies are lining up for the man they call the "GOAT" and Paine said Lyon, who has played 87 Tests, was showing no signs of slowing up.

"He could get plenty. As long as he wants to go for I reckon, he doesn't seem to have too many niggles or injuries over his career,' Paine said after Lyon's last day rout.

"The ball is coming out as well as ever. He's a bit the same as Smithy (Steve Smith), I feel like every Test match or series they seem to get better which is astonishing at their age.

"But I think if you come and watch both of them train you see why they keep improving and keep getting better and are a great example for the rest of our group."

Lyon is the weapon England don't have, with Ali also supposed to do their spinning. But we was a non-factor on a turning Edgbatson wicket, finishing with the ugly figures of 3-172.

England captain Joe Root was one of Lyon's last day victims, and smashed his pads in frustration after delivering a catch to Cameron Bancroft at short-leg.

But he refused to concede Lyon was in their heads.

Lyon celebrates victory with a kiss from partner Emma McCarthy. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Lyon celebrates victory with a kiss from partner Emma McCarthy. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

"Conditions were in his favour and he exploited them very well," was Root's explanation.

"I still think it was a good bit of bowling and that can happen on those types of wickets when someone gets it right on the money. Even still we'll be looking to make sure that when we find ourselves in a similar situation we get through it."

Paine said Lyon was a force now in all conditions, on all surfaces, and while the pitch at Edgbaston helped him out, he was now such a phenomenon he could win his country a match anywhere.

"Nathan has played on all different surfaces now and knows exactly what he is doing in all different situations," Paine said.

"He can take five wickets in any day and when you have a spinner like that it can change a game very quickly."

Lyon won't play in Australia's tour game against Worcester starting Thursday in keeping with a plan to rest most of those who were also part of the World Cup campaign.

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