Australia are playing with a four-man bowling attack in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy series on Thursday (Friday 9) in Nagpur. Pat Cummins and Scott Boland are the two quicks in the team (Boland replaced an injured Josh Hazlewood), while the other two are off-spinners.
Nathan Lyon is their lead spinner. The management left out their left-arm spinner Ashton Agar and Mitchell Swepson for a 22-year-old bespectacled Todd Murphy. Agar is a T20I specialist and has played in five Tests, while Swepson played in four Tests.
Todd Murphy received his maiden Baggy Green from Lyon in this match and became the 465th Australian man to play Test cricket. He has played seven first-class matches and scalped 29 wickets at 25.20. It’s worth noting that Australia are playing two specialist off-spinners for the first time in 35 years. The last time they played two off-spinner was in 1988.
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Steve O’Keefe heaps praise on Todd Murphy
Aussie skipper Pat Cummins had previously suggested playing just one spinner and three pacers but that fear of playing two specialist off-spinner has disappeared after they inspected the Nagpur track on the eve of the first Test. “It’s a factor. These conditions they really spin, so just really good bowling is what you’re after, being consistent time and again,” Cummins told the reporters yesterday.
“He (Murphy) is something very very special. The last time I was this excited about an off-spinner was Nathan Lyon. He bowls with overspin and drop. Besides that, he’s got a lot of skills in his armory, and he can bowl square seam, which is important over here,” former Australian left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe heaped praise on Murphy on SEN Radio.
Talking about the ongoing match, Ravindra Jadeja, who was out of international cricket for five months, made comeback in style when he sent three Aussie batsmen into packing. Jadeja picked up two back-to-back wickets after lunch.
First, he got rid of No.1 Test batter Marnus Labuschagne for 49 off 123 with debutant wicketkeeper KS Bharat whipping the bails for the first time. And on the next ball, Jadeja sent the new batter Matt Renshaw for a golden duck. A few overs later, he shattered the stumps of Steve Smith (37 off 107 balls) as well. Doing so, Jadeja dismissed Smith for the fifth time.
At the time of writing this article, Australia have so far scored 148/5 with Peter Handscomb and Alex Carey playing at 23* and 22* respectively. Carey is also playing the first match in India.
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