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Warne won't cop Smith's Lyon explanation

AAP logoAAP 9/11/2016 Rob Forsaith and Jason Phelan

Australian spin great Shane Warne has flatly rejected Steve Smith's explanation for his sparing use of tweaker Nathan Lyon in the first Test against South Africa in Perth.

Smith responded on Thursday to criticism by former skipper Michael Clarke and Warne over his use of Lyon, citing conditions he felt were more favourable for reverse swing than spin.

Clarke and Warne both questioned in Channel Nine commentary why Lyon didn't bowl in the first session on day three at the WACA.

The offspinner only delivered 12 overs on day three, when Australia's pacemen cooked in 37C heat and South Africa marched towards a second-innings total of 8(dec)-540 that set up a 177-run victory.

"I'm not going to cop this 'It's reverse swinging so we're not going to bowl a spinner or we can't bowl a spinner when it reverses'," Warne told reporters on Thursday in Melbourne.

"It wasn't as though it was going around corners, hooping all over the place and we were taking wickets - we couldn't take a wicket.

"We can't say if we go to India or anywhere else that if it's reversing, the spinner is out.

"South Africa did (use a spinner) so what are we doing wrong? Are we doing something different and is that why we're not getting it to swing as far and is that why we can't bowl a spinner at that time?

"They're basic fundamentals that need to be fixed because, anywhere you go in the world, if it starts to reverse, we can't use a spinner? That's not right."

Despite Lyon's lean patch, Warne said it was premature to speculate on his future in the Test side and backed him to bounce back if used more prudently by Smith.

"I was disappointed with the way he was used (in Perth) and I think that affected his confidence," he said.

"I think Nathan Lyon will be fine, I think he's done a wonderful job for Australia and, hopefully, he'll be used better in the future."

Smith had earlier attempted to clear the air with predecessor Clarke regarding his use of Lyon.

"I heard about the criticism that Michael Clarke and Shane Warne had about the way I used Nathan Lyon, and I discussed it with Michael afterwards," Smith wrote on Thursday in his foxsports.com.au column.

"The way I saw it out there was that reverse swing was the biggest factor in the game at the time - there was no spin.

"So I wanted to keep the ball in the hands of the fast bowlers."

Lyon remains one of Smith's closest friends in the Test side, with the skipper reiterating there is no issue between the pair.

"When Nathan bowls, it can actually flatten the rough side of the ball up a bit and stop it from reversing, so I didn't want that to happen," Smith wrote.

"I explained that to Gaz on the field and it wasn't an issue."

The second chapter of the three-Test series starts on Saturday in Hobart.

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