As the Australian cricket team prepares for the upcoming three-match Test series against Pakistan, the anticipation surrounding Nathan Lyon’s return after a calf injury is matched by the intriguing prospect of his battle with Pakistan’s batting maestro, Babar Azam. Lyon, fondly known as the ‘GOAT’ (Greatest of All Time), is on the brink of a historic milestone, while Babar Azam aims to showcase his prowess against the experienced off-spinner.

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Lyon’s Comeback and Babar’s Challenge

Nathan Lyon’s premature exit from the Ashes series earlier this year due to a calf injury left a void in the Australian bowling lineup. As he gears up for his return in the upcoming series against Pakistan, Lyon acknowledges the challenge posed by Babar Azam, whom he considers the “No.1 superstar” in the Pakistani lineup.

Expressing his admiration for Babar, Lyon stated, “Babar, firstly, has been a pleasure to play against but he’s also been a massive challenge. He’s one of the best batters in the world in my eyes, especially against spin. He’s a class player. But think he’s a class player against all types of bowling. They’ve got some superstars in the side, and if I’m talking superstars he’s the No. 1 in the Pakistan side in my eyes. He played reasonably well out here last time so it’s going to be a big challenge for us for sure,” Lyon told ESPNcricinfo.

Head-to-Head Battle: Lyon vs. Babar

The Lyon-Babar rivalry has been a captivating subplot in recent encounters. Lyon has dismissed Babar five times since 2016, with the Pakistani batsman averaging 43 against the Australian off-spinner. However, Babar’s recent form, including a century and a 97 in the previous Test series in Australia, suggests an intense battle on the horizon.

Expressing his heightened enthusiasm for Test cricket, Lyon remarked, 

“The hunger to play Test matches is probably higher than ever, to be honest. I’m genuinely excited about it. I love playing at Optus Stadium in Perth. Facing Pakistan will indeed be a challenge, making it an exciting battle.”

Babar’s Form Down Under

Babar Azam’s performances in Australia have been commendable, accumulating 799 runs from 19 innings at an average of 44.39. His ability to adapt to Australian conditions was evident in the last series, where he emerged as one of the top-performing visiting batters. Lyon, with his bag of tricks, will be keen to challenge Babar’s consistency on Australian soil.

Lyon’s Pursuit of 500 Test Wickets

Nathan Lyon stands on the verge of history, poised to become the eighth player and the third Australian to reach the milestone of 500 Test wickets. His return to the format brings added excitement, and the Perth Test provides Lyon with an opportunity to make a significant contribution to his team while achieving a personal milestone.

The Duel: Right-Arm Off-Spin vs. Babar Azam

In the recent past, Babar has faced challenges against right-arm off-spinners, adding another layer of intrigue to his battle with Lyon. As cricket enthusiasts eagerly await the clash between Lyon’s guile and Babar’s class, the contest promises to be a defining chapter in the narrative of this Test series.

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