Australian spinner Nathan Lyon labelled his South African counterpart Robin Peterson a world-class spinner ahead of their three-match Test series. Photo by: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images

Johannesburg – Australian spinner Nathan Lyon on Thursday labelled his South African counterpart Robin Peterson a world-class spinner ahead of their three-match Test series, starting on February 12.

Peterson's role as the number one spinner in the South African setup followed the dropping of Imran Tahir for the upcoming series, after a poor performance in the two-Test series against India in December.

“Robin Peterson is a world-class spinner,” Lyon said in Johannesburg.

“He's a Test match spinner; if you're playing Test match cricket you must be doing something right.

“We're not going to underestimate him. He's a great player and we're going to have worry about what we can control.”

On paper, however, the comparison between the two spinners is quite contrasting.

Lyon has on four occasions taken four wickets in an innings, and also grabbed four five-fors in his 30 Test match career.

Peterson, meanwhile, has only claimed four wickets in an innings once, and taken just one five-wicket haul in an innings from his 14 Tests.

Despite the clear difference, Lyon said he would be content to let his quick bowlers steal the headlines.

“I'm more than happy to fly under the radar. Our biggest strength over the last period has been bowling in partnerships.

“If I can play my role in the team with the likes of Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle, hopefully we can get the right result for Australia.”

The pitches in South Africa are considered more suitable to quick bowling, but Lyon pointed out he could do well if there was good bounce off the wicket.

“I'm definitely an attacking option for Michael Clarke. My biggest weapon is my bounce, so if there's is some bounce in the South African pitches, which is pretty similar to back home, I could do well.”

Lyon played a crucial role in the recent Ashes series against England which Australia won 5-0, and was rightly buoyed by his recent performances.

“I've been through a lot of highs and lows, I've been dropped a couple of times in India and in England.

“But I was able to come back and play a vital role in the Australian summer and get some good results for Australia.

“I've grown in confidence in my bowling and skill sets.” – Sapa