It is not often that a nightwatchman receives a rapturous standing ovation on his way to the crease but that is what happened to Nathan Lyon at the Waca today as the large crowd in Perth mistook him for the retiring legend Ricky Ponting.
Australia were on 18-2 having bowled out South Africa for 225 on the first day of the third Test when they decided not to throw in Ponting, who will retire from international cricket after this match, with just 23 minutes of play remaining.
They opted instead to send in off-spinner Lyon, who had earlier returned figures of 3-41, to see out the day, which he duly did, scoring seven runs.
But when the second Aussie wicket had gone down, Shane Watson lbw for 10 off Vernon Philander, the crowd presumed that Ponting would bat at four, as scheduled, and went wild. Even Ponting’s wife Rianna was confused for a moment, nervously clapping as the new batsman made his way to the crease before realising it wasn’t her husband.
Although, it was not meant for him, Lyon would have good reason to be applauded after taking a trio of wickets to bowl out the Proteas with only Faf du Plessis, 78 not out, offering any resistance.