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Bouncers could help players overcome Hughes's shock death, feels Lyon

Last updated on: December 11, 2014 16:55 IST
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Australian players check on Virat Kohli after he was hit on the helmet by a Mitchell Johnson bouncer on Thursday

Australian players check on Virat Kohli after he was hit on the helmet by a Mitchell Johnson bouncer on Thursday. Photograph: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

A Mitchell Johnson bouncer that struck India captain Virat Kohli on the helmet during the first Test on Thursday might actually help players get past the shock of Phillip Hughes's death, according to Australia spinner Nathan Lyon.

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After taking the wicket of opener Murali Vijay before lunch on day three at Adelaide Oval, a fired-up Johnson banged in a short ball which struck Kohli flush on the badge of his helmet.

With all mindful of fallen batsman Hughes, who died in hospital two days after being hit in the neck by a bouncer, the Australian fielders bolted to the middle out of concern for Kohli, who took his helmet off to inspect it.

 Michael Clarke speaks to Mitchell Johnson after his bouncer hit Virat Kohli on the helmet

Michael Clarke speaks to Mitchell Johnson after his bouncer hit Virat Kohli on the helmet. Photograph: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Though fans at the ground had applauded the first short ball that India's Varun Aaron sent down to opener David Warner on day one, the Kohli hit hushed the terraces and Australia captain Michael Clarke consoled Johnson as he walked back to his mark visibly distressed.

Kohli was unharmed and went on to score a rousing 115 before Johnson returned to dismiss him late in the day.

Asked whether the blow and Kohli's response might assist players still struggling to cope with the loss of Hughes, Lyon said it might be beneficial.

"It probably has been a positive thing as well, as bad as that sounds," said the off-spinner, who took two wickets as Australia battled to hold India to 369-5 in response to their first innings declaration at 517-7.

"We know the helmets work, and ... have that confidence for our quicks to have a bouncer again."

Mitchell Johnson celebrates after dismissing Murali Vijay

Mitchell Johnson celebrates after dismissing Murali Vijay. Photograph: Morne de Klerk/Getty Images

Lyon said players had discussed the hit over lunch and Johnson had not been too affected by it.

"He’s feeling good and I can guarantee he’s going to come out and fire in the second innings and have that aggression that we all love him for," he added.

Johnson was off his best and was punished by India's batsmen, particularly by Kohli after the new ball was taken after tea.

But the seamer fired up again after having the captain caught out and subjecting India wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha to a stern examination of short-pitched bowling in the final overs.

Clarke showed great courage to score 128 on day two as he battled through the pain of a lower back injury. He was in the field for all but a few overs on Thursday, though restricted in his movement.

Lyon said he thought Clarke would "definitely" play out the rest of the Test.

Ajinkya Rahane is surprised by the bounce of a Nathan Lyon delivery that eventually brought his downfall on Thursday

Ajinkya Rahane is surprised by the bounce of a Nathan Lyon delivery that eventually brought his downfall on Thursday. Photograph: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Talking about his bowling and his plans for Day 4, Lyon stated: "We had big Ishant Sharma running down the middle of the wicket, bowling to David Warner around the wicket, so I am thankful for him making some footmarks for me and bowling around the wicket to Davey (Warner).

"I'm looking forward to bowling more into those footmarks and hopefully he bowls there again and does it for the whole series," he added.

Rahane's dismissal showed what can be expected of the pitch in the next two days and Lyon termed himself lucky for that dismissal: "That's all part of the variation. We knew if I was able to keep putting the ball in the rough there, something was going to give. I'm lucky enough that one kicked there and took the glove and popped up for a nice catch for Shane Watson.

"It shows a good Test match wicket out there with the variations for spinners. But as we saw if their batters got in it was pretty hard to get out," Lyon said.

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