Blackcaps v Australia: Nathan Lyon urges Blackcaps to give Will Somerville green light

  • 31/12/2019

The world's premier test off-spin bowler has thrown selection advice at the Blackcaps brains trust ahead of the dead rubber in Sydney.

Nathan Lyon, who took 4/81 in New Zealand's second innings at the MCG, is a big fan of his former teammate Will Somerville.

The 35-year-old Auckland off-spin bowling wiz is familiar with the Sydney Cricket Ground having 19 wickets in four games at the venue for New South Wales. 

Sommerville was the Blues leading wicket-taker during the 2016/17 season with 35 scalps before he crossed the Tasman a year later in a bid to play test cricket for his country of birth. 

Sommerville made his test debut for New Zealand just 13 months ago, taking 7/127 against Pakistan. 

The Wellington-born Blackcap has 14 wickets in three tests at an average of 25.14 and is a real chance to play in Sydney after being called up to replace an injured Trent Boult.

Speaking on Tuesday, Lyon urged New Zealand to pick the Auckland Aces bowler for the final test starting Friday.

"He's a lovely guy," Lyon said. 

"I've trained with him a fair bit. He'll be a big challenge for us. 

"He gets a fair amount of bounce, has a great record at the SCG and loves bowling there."

Nathan Lyon - the world's premier test match off-spin bowler
Nathan Lyon - the world's premier test match off-spin bowler Photo credit: Image - Getty

Coach Gary Stead will wait until he and Kane Williamson inspect the pitch before deciding on the make-up of their side for Sydney, but did indicate that playing two spinners is an option.

That would mean two of Sommerville, Todd Astle or the under-fire Mitchell Santner are in the conversation to play on a favourable deck.

Astle hasn't played a test this summer and averages a hefty 54 runs per wicket in four tests, while Santner has taken 1/250 in 69 overs this series.

But Lyon believes Santner deserves a chance to redeem himself, pointing to his tremendous white-ball record as an indicator of how good the left-armer is.

"Mitch probably hasn't had the series that he's wanted to but he's a world-class player," Lyon said.

"He's a brilliant fielder, his bowling's improving, he's a great batter as well. 

"You can't just write off someone who has been under the pump for two games.

"Yeah, the SCG will suit Mitch and the way he bowls, we're expecting him to definitely play and play a massive role in the next week."

The test match gets underway on Saturday with New Zealand looking to avoid a 3-0 series clean sweep.