Cricket – Virat Kohli shocked by debutant Todd Murphy in ‘one of the worst’ dismissals possible in India vs Australia Test

It was a brave call from the national selectors — Australia had not picked two strike off-spinners in a Test match since 1988, traditionally favouring tweakers who turn the ball in opposite directions.

But Murphy’s selection has proven a masterstroke, with the 22-year-old taking a five-wicket haul in India’s first innings at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, becoming the youngest Australian spinner to achieve the feat on Test debut.

Cricket – Virat Kohli shocked by debutant Todd Murphy in 'one of the worst' dismissals possible in India vs Australia Test

Thirteen years after Jason Krejza stunned India with an eight-wicket haul in Nagpur, another Australian off-spinner is turning heads on Test debut at the same venue.

Todd Murphy, with only seven first-class matches under his belt, was handed his baggy green this week after a prolific Sheffield Shield campaign for Victoria, beating out Ashton Agar and Mitchell Swepson for the gig.The spectacled youngster, a Daniel Vettori lookalike, snared Australia’s first breakthrough on Thursday afternoon, with Indian opener KL Rahul chipping a return catch back to Murphy for his maiden Test wicket.

Following the morning session’s drinks break on day two, Murphy returned to the attack and removed nightwatchman Ravichandran Ashwin after successfully overturning an on-field LBW call through DRS.

He then grabbed the crucial scalp of Cheteshwar Purjara, albeit with his least threatening ball of the morning — the Indian No. 3 looked to paddle a length delivery that was flying down the leg side, instead top-edging a regulation catch towards short fine leg.

But the best was yet to come for Murphy, who dismissed Indian superstar Virat Kohli immediately after the lunch break. Kohli looked to tickle the off-spinner through fine leg, with Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey holding onto a superb catch down the leg side.

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Murphy, who 12 months ago was a fringe state cricketer struggling to break into Victoria’s starting XI, suddenly boasted figures of 4-39 from 16 overs, single-handedly keeping Australia in the contest.

“This is what dreams are made of,” former Test batter Mark Waugh said in commentary.

As revealed by statistician Swamp, Murphy became the first Australian bowler to take the team’s opening four wickets on Test debut since 1957, when Ian Meckiff achieved the feat against South Africa.

Murphy secured the five-wicket haul after the tea break following another DRS masterstroke from captain Pat Cummins, dismissing Indian wicketkeeper KS Bharat LBW to became is the youngest Australian spin bowler to take a Test five-wicket haul since 1882.

To the surprise of many, Murphy outclassed veteran spinner Nathan Lyon on Friday morning; the heir apparent was more consistent, getting the ball to drift and threatening both edges of the bat.

“I thought he was fantastic, I like the cut of his jib,” former Australian spinner Kerry O’Keeffe said on Fox Cricket.

“Trajectory, loop, angle, curve … he‘s the future of Australian spin.

“The hitters can’t get under him because he bowls a 92km/h loop. He’s under their eye line.

“Murphy’s natural seam rotation is so suited to Indian pitches … Lyon is a bounce bowler, and there’s no bounce.

“(Murphy’s) not looking to bounce the ball, he’s looking to hit pads.”

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