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Lyon spins Aussies closer to SCG win

AAP logoAAP 5/01/2017 Rob Forsaith

Nathan Lyon is riding high after spinning a patched-up Australian side closer to a 3-0 Test series sweep over Pakistan on day three of the SCG clash.

The tourists were 8-271 at stumps on Thursday, still trailing Australia by 267 runs despite a gallant century from Younis Khan.

Younis is 136 not out, having frustrated Steve Smith's side with the help of rain that washed out one and a half sessions in the morning.

Lyon grabbed three wickets on day three, including the key scalp of skipper Misbah-ul-Haq. Fellow tweaker Steve O'Keefe also helped Australia turn the screws, removing Asad Shafiq for four with the help of a remarkable slips catch from Smith.

The highlight of Lyon's haul came late in the rain-shortened day, when he bamboozled Wahab Riaz with a well-flighted delivery that spun sharply between bat and pad.

"It was a beautiful offspinner's wicket. He'd be very happy with it and we were very happy with it," Australia's bowling coach David Saker said.

"He threatened to do that quite a bit today.

"He bowled really well today. He hasn't had a lot of luck this summer ... he obviously felt a little bit of pressure."

Lyon, who was on the cusp of being dropped earlier this summer, also played a major role in Australia snatching a series victory on day five of the Boxing Day Test.

"To come out and bowl like he did today, I think he'll be on top of the moon," Saker said.

Australia are likely to opt against enforcing the follow-on in Sydney, should the option be available on Friday. That will leave the experienced offspinner to ply his trade on a pitch that should offer even more assistance.

"Hopefully, it starts playing some tricks," Saker said.

"Because of the rain, it's probably holding together a bit more than a normal Sydney wicket."

Smith has been criticised by Shane Warne for much of the summer over his treatment of Lyon. The legendary legspinner had no complaints on Thursday when Lyon was called into the attack with the second new ball just five overs old.

Lyon delivered the wicket of Mohammad Amir that over.

"Maybe it's a confidence thing ... Smith brings him on when the ball is new, as opposed to being a bit of an afterthought," Warne said on the Nine Network, praising Lyon's drift and pace.

Mitchell Starc conjured the first of six wickets to fall on Thursday, with his run-out snapping a 146-run partnership between Azhar Ali and Younis.

Starc, Lyon, O'Keefe and Josh Hazlewood all failed to remove Younis, who has faced 279 balls.

"He's done so well for so many years for Pakistan. He's mentally very tough," Azhar said of the teammate who played a big role in his run-out.

Smith was forced to reshuffle his plans late in Thursday's final session because of the absence of Matthew Wade and Matt Renshaw.

Wade spent most of the day resting at the team hotel with a stomach bug, while Renshaw was stuck on the helmet for the second time in the match.

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