Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon believes the pressure is currently on India after the hosts earned a spectacular comeback victory in the second Test in Bengaluru. After suffering a humiliating loss in Pune by 333 runs, India defeated Australia by 75 runs to level the four-match Test series. The third game is scheduled to begin on March 16 in Ranchi. Lyon complimented his team for their fighting display in the last two games. "There's a lot of belief. There's a lot of people who wrote us off, before we even got on a plane and landed in Dubai, let alone coming over here," Lyon said.
The off-spinner was quoted as saying on Sydney Morning Herald, "We're one win away from retaining the trophy and that's what we are here to do.
"The pressure is right on India - there's no pressure on us. Everyone said 'we were going to lose 4-0, they're no good, they're a young cricket team learning,' but we believe we can beat the best teams anywhere in the world.
"We proved that in the first Test, we came close in the second Test and even that hurt - that's probably the best thing about that game.
"I think they're feeling the pressure a little bit to be honest. And it's good."
The Australians on Monday left Bengaluru for Ranchi. Lyon, who left India flummoxed with his off spinners in the first innings of the second Test in Bengaluru, briefly spoke about the importance of reverse swing.
"With our air speed and ability to get the ball reversing, and the earlier we can do that the better off it is," Lyon said.
Lyon suffered a cracked-skin on his right index finger during the second Test but he's confident that he will be in the playing XI for the third match starting in Ranchi on from Thursday.
He's confident his finger ailment (split callus) will be healed on time for the game.
"I have bowled a lot of balls over the summer and it usually happens once or twice a year. It just split. It was pretty painful there for a bit," Lyon said.
"And you can't bowl on (adhesive) tape -- there are rules and laws out there that you can't bowl on tape so I wasn't even considering that," he was quoted as saying in the Cricket Australia website.
"The last time I was here (in India, in 2013), the same thing happened in the third Test and I was able to play three days later. So I'm more than confident in turning out for the next Test."
The ailment restricted him to fitness work and other drills and Lyon said he still has a bit of pain while trying out variations.
"I'm able to bowl cross-seam and stuff, so I can still try to spin it. But for variations and trying to get drift and drop and stuff -- to go at the back of the ball -- the way I bowl, it (the finger injury) does impede it a little bit."
Lyon said he has minutely studied how Ravichandran Ashwin, India's leading wicket-taker in the current series, bowls on the dry and spinning wickets on the sub-continent.
"The way he constructs an over is one big thing. I've been studying the way he bowls to left and right handers in these conditions. The way he uses the crease, the different shapes he puts on the ball. We're different bowlers, you can tell that when he comes out to Australia."
Another significant difference to Lyon's bowling in the series is the amount of time he has spent coming over the wicket to India's preponderance of right-handed batters. In Australia where bounce represents more of a weapon than spin, Lyon often operates around the wicket to use the increased angle he creates to bring the bat-pad catchers into play.
"It depends on the pitch. The last two pitches I've been able to get good bounce, sharp bounce and fast spin off the wicket as well. If the wicket wasn't doing that as much, then I'd look at the option of coming around the wicket. But it just really depends on the type of wicket."
(With inputs from PTI)