Lyon and Boland suffer brutal County Championship debuts – but ‘very unknown’ Aussie lights up IPL


Two Aussies abroad have endured wildly different fortunes as Jake Fraser-McGurk joined the world stage with a thrilling first IPL half century, but Scott Boland suffered a shocking debut in the County Championship with his side Durham ending the day on the wrong side of 1-490 while Nathan Lyon was similarly clouted.

With five booming sixes and all-or-nothing daring, Australian cricket’s shooting star Fraser-McGurk has announced himself as the Indian Premier League’s latest big hit.

Fraser-McGurk had been warming the bench for Delhi Capitals, waiting patiently for his day in the spotlight – and when the moment came, he grabbed it hungrily on Friday, playing a spectacular winning hand on debut for the struggling franchise with a half-century that lifts them off the foot of the IPL table.

Coach Ricky Ponting, looking to change the fortunes of the struggling franchise, decided to give the lad from Box Hill, who had turned 22 on Thursday, a belated birthday present – and it was his old Test colleague Justin Langer, now in charge of Lucknow Super Giants, who suffered the consequences.

Chasing down the Super Giants’ 7-167 in Lucknow, the Victorian was quickly thrust into the action at first drop after veteran compatriot David Warner was bowled for just eight by Yash Thakur in the fourth over. 

But just as in his List A and first-class debuts when he also scored half-centuries, Fraser-McGurk looked quite unfazed on his IPL bow, smashing the second ball he faced off Yash into the crowd over deep midwicket.

He then pummelled Arshad Khan for an even bigger maximum, measured at more than 96 metres, into a similar vicinity before the spinners began to keep him a bit quieter as captain Rishabh Pant took over responsibility in the chase.

Maiden IPL FIFTY for Jake Fraser-McGurk on DEBUT!

Hat-trick of sixes in this thoroughly entertaining knock ????????????

Watch the match LIVE on @StarSportsIndia and @JioCinema ????????#TATAIPL | #LSGvDC

— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 12, 2024

But it was impossible not to admire Fraser-McGurk’s six-or-out approach as the man with No.33 on his back, for his next trick, gave a distinctly irritated Krunal Pandya a devil of a time with his six, six, six off successive balls.

It reduced Pandya to send down a wide 115km/h bouncer, evidently piqued that he might go for six sixes in an over.

Eventually, Fraser-McGurk, who reached 50 off 31, tried one extravagance too many and sliced Naveen-ul-Haq to Arshad Khan at deep point, but the game was already as good as won. 

It was an exhilarating feeling for the youngster, who watched his side then gallop to their target, finishing with 4-170 and a six-wicket win with 11 balls remaining. 

“So happy to be here,” Fraser-McGurk beamed after his 55 off 35 balls (two fours, five sixes).

“It’s just a different cricket world over here. Never seen anything like it, heard a lot about it, it’s just amazing.

“I’ve spent the last five, six games on the sidelines just watching it and itching to get out there. So just to get out there and have my first game, I’m stoked.

“I tried not to swing too hard, not lose my shape and tried to find the middle of the bat. That’s what I’ve been doing the last 12 months – why change it?”

Pant, who made 41 as Delhi rose from the foot of the table to ninth, smiled they had “probably” found their rightful No.3 after early-season failures.

KL Rahul, Lucknow’s skipper, was also impressed.

“McGurk was very unknown. We’ve watched a lot of videos of him, but he hit the ball really well, credit to him, he changed the game,” he said.

For Lucknow, Marcus Stoinis didn’t have the best of days, scoring eight and then being hit for 10 off his one over as Ayush Badoni’s unbeaten 55 off 35 balls proved their batting highlight. 

All in a day’s work

Alex Davies scores his maiden double century – he’s unbeaten on 226* overnight!

— Vitality County Championship (@CountyChamp) April 12, 2024

Meanwhile in Birmingham and Southampton, things could not have been more different.

Nathan and Boland were given a grizzly introduction to county cricket as the sun came out and the Australian luminaries got clouted around on a tough day.

Lyon did at least enjoy taking his first two wickets for Lancashire, including the scalp of England batter James Vince, against Hampshire, but he was almost hit for a century during his marathon stint at Southampton.

Boland found the going even harder on an Edgbaston flat track, the seamer going wicketless on his Durham debut while being smacked for 54 off 13 overs amid the carnage of Warwickshire bludgeoning their way to 1-490.

There was better news for Australian batters, though, with Matt Renshaw and Peter Handscomb both scoring fifties in the season’s second round of games.

All eyes were on spinning great Lyon at the Rose Bowl after he had only managed a couple of overs in Lancashire’s opening rain-hit contest.

And with the veteran’s spell in the county game shortened at the behest of Cricket Australia, it seemed like Lancashire were determined to get their money’s worth on Friday as they made him slave for 32 overs for 2-97.

It took the 36-year-old only until his seventh over, when introduced in the morning session, to take his first Lancashire wicket when Vince, looking threatening on 56, turned one into short-leg’s hands.

Nathan Lyon has his first wicket for Lancashire!

And it’s the big one of James Vince too

— Vitality County Championship (@CountyChamp) April 12, 2024

Lyon also got Nick Gubbins edging behind for 50 but had no further success as the home side reached 6-305.

Boland, handed a brand-new Kookaburra, was expected to cause rather more problems at the same Birmingham venue where he was last found getting carted around by England’s batters in the Ashes.

But the 35-year-old was driven for four first ball by Alex Davies and it got worse as he leaked four more boundaries in just his first three overs as his opening spell eventually went for 30 off five.

Boland was used only sparingly after that initial humbling as the hosts wrought further mayhem, with Davies going on to 226no and Rob Yates making 191 in their opening stand of 343.

Somerset’s Renshaw might have made his first ton of the season, after a half-century in the opening game, if not for a run-out mix-up with centurion Tom Lammonby (100) when he was going nicely on 87 at The Oval against champions Surrey.

His departure from a direct hit, which looked to down mostly to his partner’s dodgy call for a too-sharp single, sparked a collapse as Somerset plummeted from 1-196 to 285 all out.

Handscomb was one of three Leicestershire batters to make half-centuries as they made 8-326 against Sussex at Grace Road.

Rishi Patel scored 87 and allrounder Liam Trevaskis 82no on his county debut, while the experienced Australian chipped in with 51 before being bowled attempting a slog-sweep off spinner Jack Carson.

Wes Agar got a wicket fifth ball for Kent but that was as good as it got for the Australian as he ended up with 1-85 off his 16 overs as Essex piled up 6-421 off the back of centuries for former South African Test skipper Dean Elgar (120) and Matt Critchley (103no).

Joe Root, in his first appearance for Yorkshire for nearly two years, made just two off seven balls and Harry Brook was out for 26 but Pakistan Test captain Shan Masood made 140 as they were bowled out for 326 against Gloucestershire at Bristol.

Gloucestershire were 2-28 in reply, with opener Cameron Bancroft still there on five.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.