Australian selectors had been urged by Warne to consider leaving out Lyon as he was keen to see uncapped leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson be given a chance at Test level.
The Black Caps appear destined to be whitewashed after the home side continued their domination of the world’s No.2 Test nation. By the end of this game, it will be Australia at the front of the pack chasing runaway leader India.
Even with showers forecast on Monday, Australia are on course to end a summer of smash-ups with a crushing victory. The only question is whether this will be the first Test of the season to enter a fifth day.
Australia again prolonged New Zealand’s suffering, opting not to enforce the follow-on so their bowlers could put their feet up in the dressing room before going to work again on the visitors’ demoralised batsmen.
At stumps on the third day, Australia were 0-40, a lead of 243. With so much time left in the game, the hosts are likely to bat well into the afternoon before a declaration is made.
Not since the 5-0 annihilation of England in 2013/14 have Australia completed a clean sweep of the home Test season. Whereas Michael Clarke’s side was an ageing team this is very much an Australian XI on the up.
While the first two days belonged to one of their rising batsman, Marnus Labuschagne, it was their most capped player who led the way on Jane McGrath Day.
As the benign deck took the edge off Australia’s powerful pacemen, Lyon took the lid off New Zealand’s top order then spun out their tail.
This was a workmanlike effort from Lyon, who has bowled better without reaping as much reward. His first wicket, Tom Blundell, was somewhat fortunate, bowling the opener through his legs after he had missed with an attempted swipe to a half-tracker.
Lyon overcame a split thumbnail, which drew blood, after putting down a return chance off last-minute inclusion Glenn Phillips. He later gave Phillips a second reprieve, again off his own bowling.
“I’ve split my thumb but more frustrated dropping a pretty easy catch in my eyes,” Lyon said. “I pride myself on my fielding off my bowling.
“I know how hard it is to take Test wickets. When you’re dropping catches with your own bowling it doesn’t sit well with you. I’m more disappointed with my standards.”
Fortune was on Phillips’ side as he was caught in the deep pulling on 28 but spared by James Pattinson’s errant front foot. He top-scored with 52 before being bowled through the gate by Pat Cummins.
The undermanned Black Caps, missing star batsman Kane Williamson and middle-order rock Henry Nicholls, could not be faulted for their endeavour but it was not enough to cover for the gulf in class.
Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald