Upping the ante ahead of the first Ashes Test, spinner Nathan Lyon said the Australian team is out to "end careers" of England players pointing to how the tourists fared in their last visit to Australia. Lyon recalled the devastation caused by left-armer Mitchell Johnson in 2013-2014, when he took 37 wickets with his ferocious fast bowling as the Australians inflicted a crushing 5-0 home series defeat. Ahead of the first Test in Brisbane from Thursday, the off-spinner said many in the England squad remain haunted by Johnson's assault, taking aim at captain Joe Root who was axed from the final Test in Sydney.
"I know Root got dropped last time when he was here, so it'd be good to get him dropped again wouldn't it? If we can start by opening up that crack, it's pretty crucial," Lyon told reporters.
"There's a lot of scars for the English guys, especially coming over here, especially when we have two guys bowling 150ks (93 mph), not just one now," he added, referring to Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins. On the 2013-2014 tour, Jonathan Trott was sent home with stress-related illness after the first Test, while Graeme Swann abruptly retired mid-series.
Coach Andy Flower was sacked following the Ashes thrashing and wicketkeeper Matt Prior was dropped for the last two Tests, with Lyon claiming he was "scared".
"Leading into Perth we knew... Matt Prior wanted to fly home before the game started and he was one of the senior players," said Lyon, one of three players remaining from that side. "He was scared. It's four years ago. I think he's all right now."
Asked if he thought his team could repeat the devastation that ended careers on that tour, Lyon said: "I hope so. I didn't end any careers. Mitchell Johnson ended them."
English keeper Prior laughed off the taunts Monday. "If that was the case and I was scared, why didn't I go home then?" he told Britain's Daily Mail.
"That's completely ridiculous and all I can do is laugh. It's wholeheartedly untrue. I stayed out there and what hurt me more was that I got dropped for the last two Tests."
(With AFP Inputs)