Australia's Christmas tree topping craze: Nathan Lyon

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Sydney (AFP)

Australian cricket fans are paying homage to Test spinner Nathan "Garry" Lyon by making him the must-have Christmas tree topper this festive season.

The GOAT, or "The Greatest Of All Time", has been one of Australia's best-performing players in the Ashes Test series against England and now it appears he will take centre stage over Christmas as an ornament atop trees.

The movement began on a Facebook fan group of Australia's all-time leading wicket-taking off-spinner and has quickly gathered momentum.

"Gaz is the only star we need on our Christmas tree and I'm sure he'll brighten up any of our days!" the Nathan Lyon Appreciation Page said.

It has created an album of pictures of the bowler on trees in fans' homes.

Among dozens of comments on the site, Chris Lumsden said: "I'm doing this to our tree", while Reece Finch-White added: "The only thing I want on my tree."

Lyon has become a fan favourite since escaping the selectors' axe a year ago in the wake of a Test debacle in Hobart when South Africa humiliated Australia by an innings and 80 runs.

He responded with a match-turning spell in an Adelaide day-night game against South Africa, dominated in India with 19 wickets at 23.26, including 8-50 in Bangalore, and set a new two-Test series record for Australia with 22 wickets against Bangladesh.

Lyon is also the leading wicket-taker with 57 in Test cricket in the final weeks of this year.

He has been a stand-out with the ball and in the field during the Ashes, with his run-out of James Vince at the Gabba an outstanding piece of work that was only topped by a stunning flying caught-and-bowled in Adelaide.