If Nathan Lyon continues his stunning 2017 form, he could join Bruce Yardley as the only Australian spinners to take a Test five-for at the WACA when the Ashes resumes on Thursday.
It will be the tweaker’s final chance to put his name on the honour board at the Perth ground, which will be replaced by a new stadium after this Test.
The WACA has been an unhappy hunting ground for spinners, with no slow bowler taking five wickets in an innings in the past decade.
From four previous outings at the WACA, Lyon’s best return is the 4-109 he logged against England in the 2013 Ashes series.
But his career-best form in 2017 gives him a chance to join Yardley, New Zealand’s Dan Vettori, Indian Bishan Bedi and England’s Monty Panesar as the only spinners to take a Test five-for at the WACA.
Lyon, the world’s leading Test wicket-taker this year with 57 scalps, rattled England in both Brisbane and Adelaide, taking 11 wickets across the two Tests.
The offspinner will play a pivotal role in the hosts’ bid for an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series.
“Perth’s a tough place [for spinners], that’s traditionally because it swings and quicks bowl the majority of the overs,” coach Darren Lehmann said.
“He’ll get drift obviously with The Doctor (Fremantle’s famous sea breeze), and some bounce.
“He’s been bowling brilliantly for us.”
Wicketkeeper Tim Paine described Lyon’s recent output as incredible.
“He’s probably bowling the best he’s ever bowled,” Paine said.
“This pitch might not spin as much as we’ve seen.
“But the shape he’s getting on the ball and the bounce he’s been getting — if he can get that same sort of bounce, which I’m sure he will here, he’s going to be hard work for them again.”