England spinner Leach looks to 'impressive' Lyon for inspiration

Brisbane (Australia) (AFP) – England spinner Jack Leach admitted Wednesday that Australian counterpart Nathan Lyon was "impressive" and he had been studying how he deals with local conditions ahead of the first Ashes Test next week.


Leach also spotlighted Ravindra Jadeja as an inspiration after the Indian's exploits during a Test series in Australia last summer.

"For years I've watched Nathan Lyon and he's very impressive," said Leach, who memorably shared in a final-wicket stand of 76 with Ben Stokes at Leeds in 2019 as England snatched victory from Australia.

"Just how strong his stock ball is and on wickets that don't necessarily offer a lot spin wise he's found ways to extract extra bounce, dip and all the other things," he told journalists.

"They're the kind of things that I've been trying to add in but still sticking to my strengths as well."

Watching fellow left-arm spinner Jadeja has also been part of his preparation during England's rain-hit build-up to the five-Test series.

"I don't think (Jadeja) did too much different to what he does in India," said Leach, who has played 16 Tests, taking 62 wickets, but none in Australia.

"That's another nice thing to see. He's taken what he does, is doing pretty similar things and having success."

A lively pitch is expected for the first Test in Brisbane on December 8 after recent torrential rain, which would likely suit England's pace attack.

Whether they also opt for a spinner remains to be seen, but Leach believes his chances have improved by all-rounder Ben Stokes being back in the touring party after injury and a mental-health break.

"From the (English) summer, the feedback was that Stokesy not being in the side, not having that all-round option in the top order, kind of made things difficult for me to get in the side," he said.

"It's great to have him back around and he's been brilliant. He's such a team man and the group is only better for having him in it."