March 1 kickstarts the much-anticipated series between South Africa and Australia. Ahead of the series, premier Australian spinner Nathan Lyon will not take their opponents for granted and is well known for their formidable ability to win matches.
"We've spoken about coming over here and have really enjoyed coming over here in the past," Lyon told reporters in Durban on Tuesday (February 27). "We (are) not going to take that for granted. We are not coming here thinking that we are going to have automatic success. We pay the South Africans a lot of respect, they have some class players."
"We have to see how we go, but we need to make sure that we are competing and challenging the South Africans," added Lyon.
South Africa have fond memories of their recent encounters against Australia. South Africa have won the past three series in Australia, including a crushing 2-1 series victory in late 2016. Their innings and 80 runs thrashing in Hobart triggered an overhaul of the Australian team. Since that humiliating defeat, an improving Australia team have won 10 of their 15 Tests punctuated by a convincing Ashes triumph.
Lyon said Australia had improved considerably since their last meeting with South Africa. "The whole side is in a better place," he said. "There's been a big change since the last time South Africa were in Australia. You have to give them credit, they totally outplayed us in our own conditions. That didn't go down well with myself or the whole side."
Lyon also kept his view on the kind of pitches that are expected to be dished out in the series. "I'm expecting flatter wickets than the Indian series," he said. "It looks like a good pitch. I've never been here before but it looks like a good cricket wicket and there will be two good sides going against each other."
Regarding the upcoming series, Lyon said that there will be many highs and lows in the course of the Test matches. "There are going to be times when patience will be required but there will other times (when it will be attacking)," he said. "It is about identifying that as soon as possible and making the most of the key moments" added Lyon.
Lyon concluded speaking about Warner's captaincy in Australia's victorious T20I Trans - Tasman campaign. "He's like an energizer bunny. We need him up and about," Lyon said. "We know he is an x-factor and he is hitting the ball well in the net. We had an unbelievable training session. The boys are firing and there's a lot of confidence in the change room."