Fans worldwide are eagerly anticipating the upcoming clash between Australia and Pakistan in the three-match Test series set to commence on December 14 in Perth. As a precursor to the red-ball battle, Pakistan will face Prime Minister XI in a crucial 4-day warm-up game starting on December 06 in Canberra.

Veteran Aussie spinner Nathan Lyon, who recently recovered from a calf injury that cut short his participation in the Ashes, is set to play a pivotal role in Australia’s bowling attack. Lyon, gearing up for his 101st match, has undergone extensive rehab and showcased his skills in three Sheffield Shield outings over the past month.

Nathan Lyon’s pick for Pakistan’s standout player

As the cricket world eagerly awaits the series, Lyon has identified a key player in the Pakistan squad. Former skipper Babar Azam, who recently resigned from the captaincy, has caught Lyon’s eye as the No. 1 player in the Pakistan team. Notably, the Optus Stadium in Perth has been a successful venue for Lyon, where he has claimed 22 wickets in three matches.

Despite Lyon’s success, he anticipates a tough challenge from Pakistan, particularly from the prolific Babar. Lyon acknowledges Babar as a class player against all types of bowling, emphasizing his prowess against spin.

“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,” Lyon told ESPNcricinfo.

“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,” added Lyon.

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Lyon’s eye-catching record

Babar, with an average of 44.38 in 10 Tests against Australia, has proven to be a formidable opponent. However, Lyon has an impressive record against the former Pakistan skipper. The right-armer has dismissed Babar five times since 2016, limiting him to just 43 runs. Babar’s last visit to Australia in 2019-2020 showcased his brilliance with scores of 97 and 101.

In total, Babar has amassed 799 runs from 19 innings at an average of 44.39 in Test matches against Australia. Regrettably, all his Test outings in Australia have ended in defeat, contributing to Pakistan’s ongoing 14-match losing streak in the country.

Also READ: David Warner comes up with a sharp response after an internet troll labels Australian cricketers as ‘arrogant’

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