Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon taunted the media by saying “I thought you were smarter than that” as he insisted his controversial comments about ending English careers during the Ashes were just a smokescreen.
Lyon found himself in the firing line over his remarks before the first Test, but he said he was being deliberately provocative to take the heat off Australia’s left-field selections.
Australia’s all-time leading off-spinner said he had no regrets about the comments, when asked on Friday if he would say the same thing again.
“I took a lot of pressure off Tim Paine and Cameron Bancroft, I thought you guys (media) were a little bit smarter than that but it is what it is,” Lyon laughed.
“I am not going to stand back from what I said and I am confident in my own bowling.”
Lyon told reporters ahead of the first Test that many in the England squad remain shaken after their 5-0 defeat in Australia four years ago, and that Australia hoped to “end careers” in the current series.
Lyon, 30, was one of Australia’s stars as the hosts fought back to dismiss the tourists for 302. They trail by 137 runs with six wickets in hand after day two in Brisbane.
After a spectacular run-out on day one, Lyon claimed two wickets off 36 overs as the Australians captured the last six English wickets for 56 on Friday.
Lyon, dubbed the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) by teammates and media, has now taken 271 wickets in 70 Tests, the most wickets by an Australian off-spinner.
“I feel like I am bowling very well, so I am excited at where it’s going,” he said. “My confidence has grown a large amount over the last 14 months.
“I’ve worked hard in the nets with [coach] John Davidson and I have really nailed down my consistency and knowing my game inside out and what works really for me.”
Lyon said his comments which upset the England camp had nothing to do with the way he is bowling.
“At the end of the day it’s a team game, I know my role in the Australian cricket team,” he said.
“I know that I am a leader, I know I am one of the most experienced guys in that change room so if I can go out there and share my experience with the younger guys then hopefully we can put Australian cricket in a good place.
“My bowling is coming out the best it’s come out. I am looking forward to the rest of this series.”