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Lyon searching for Sri Lankan side-spin

AAP logoAAP 7/08/2016 Will Knight

Nathan Lyon insists he's been trying to get the same side-spin that Sri Lanka's slow bowlers have used to smash through Australia's batting but it just hasn't worked for him.

On the dry wickets of the island nation, Sri Lanka have been most successful not with big-turning deliveries but from ones that go straight on with the arm.

Rather than hitting the rotating seam and gripping and spinning, the idea is to hit the shiny side so that there's little or no deviation.

The side-spin - used most effectively by left-armer Rangana Herath and right-armer Dilruwan Perera - has contributed significantly to Sri Lanka's spinners taking 36 of the 40 Australian wickets to fall in the first two Tests.

A big chunk of those dismissals have been bowled or lbw when the non-turning ones miss the inside edge of the bat.

In contrast, Australia's three spinners - Lyon, Jon Holland and Stephen O'Keefe - have collected 14 wickets and the quicks 26.

After Australia's 229-run defeat in the second Test in Galle on Saturday, skipper Steve Smith lamented his team's poor batting but also the inability of Lyon and Holland to replicate the home side's use of side-spin, which is critical, especially in sub-continental conditions.

Smith even wondered whether Herath and Perera know themselves which ones are going to turn or go straight on - or something in between.

It's a skill not familiar to Australia's finger spinners, who are brought up being coached to get their fingers more over the top of the ball to get dip, spin and bounce.

Lyon, who averages 31.97 with the ball at home but 44.42 in Asia, was adamant that he's been trying to get some side revolutions in Sri Lanka.

"I have been bowling with a fair few variations where a lot of people aren't going to pick up on that," he said in Galle on Sunday.

"That is a subtle variation in my wrist.

"I am going down to training today to experiment more of how far my wrist can go underneath it, just to see how the ball reacts."

The Sri Lankan batsmen have used the sweep shot effectively too, which has played a key part in maintaining a solid run-rate against the spinners - well over four runs an over in Galle - and forcing Smith to spread the field.

"You see good the good players of spin, not only here with Sri Lanka, but you look at Younis Khan, Virat Kholi and these guys, they sweep well and they do that to try and out you off your lengths," said Lyon.

"As a spinner, you need to be patient enough and be willing to be swept - it means you are hitting the right areas."

Lyon was complimentary to Sri Lanka, who sealed the series with two crushing wins before the third Test in Colombo.

"We've been outplayed in all areas," he said.

"I'm not going to stand here and make excuses or blame anyone. We've been outplayed and you've got to give credit where credit's due."

SRI LANKA'S FOUR SPINNERS IN SERIES SO FAR

Rangana Herath: 15 wickets at average of 14.13, Best bowling 5-54

Dilruwan Perera: 11 wickets at average of 15.63, Best bowling 6-70

Lakshan Sandakan: 9 wickets at average of 15.22, Best bowling 4-58

Dhananjaya de Silva: 1 wicket at average of 21.0, Best bowling 1-12

AUSTRALIA'S THREE SPINNERS IN SERIES SO FAR

Nathan Lyon: 9 wickets at average of 30.88, Best bowling 3-12

Stephen O'Keefe: 3 wickets at average of 24.66, Best bowling 2-32

Jon Holland: 2 wickets at average of 66.50, Best bowling 1-64

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