Young spinner Todd Murphy is making quite a name for himself in his burgeoning Test cricket career and fans are already trolling legend Virat Kohli for turning into his 'bunny'. Left-arm offspinner Matt Kuhnemann stole the show on Day 1 against India after producing ludicrous figures of 5-16 to place Australia on top in the third Test.
While Kuhnemann wreaked havoc early, the Indian team looked to Kohli to bail them out as the icon attempted to steady the innings when he came to the crease. Kohli came in at 4-44 and put on 22 runs off 55 balls in a controlled display against a turning ball.
However, as he had done twice previously, Murphy entered the fray and quickly picked up Kohli's wicket. Kohli has now faced 83 balls from Murphy in the series, which has seen him score 39 runs and fall three times.
Murphy has an average of 13 against Kohli and appears to relish bowling against one of the best batters in the world. Kohli hasn't enjoyed the best series to date having scored 98 runs across four innings at an average of 24.50.
Australian fans were quick to take the opportunity to troll Kohli and claim the batter has become Murphy's 'bunny' throughout the series.
— Ben Cameron (@BenCameron23) March 1, 2023
Virat Kohli is currently accounting for 27% of Todd Murphy's Test wickets#INDvAUS
— Andrew McGlashan (@andymcg_cricket) March 1, 2023
— Will Faulkner (@willzfaulk) March 1, 2023
Todd Murphy has dismissed Virat Kohli three times in four innings this series.#INDvAUS
— Nic Savage (@nic_savage1) March 1, 2023
Virat Kohli vs Todd Murphy in #BGT2023:
39 - Runs
83 - Balls
59 - Dots
3 - Outs
4 - 4s
0 - 6s
46.98 - SR
13.00 - Avg
— CricTracker (@Cricketracker) March 1, 2023
Todd Murphy of Australia celebrates taking the wicket of Virat Kohli of India.#BorderGavaskarTrophy #CricketAustralia #Cricket #TestCricket #Indore #India #holkarstadium pic.twitter.com/eOYdarYtsa
— Robert Cianflone (@Sportsnapper71) March 1, 2023
While India's premier batter has struggled this series, so has Australia's. Steve Smith has near identical figures to Kohli with neither scoring a half-century thus far.
Smith has scored 97 runs across five innings with an average of 24.25. Incredibly, Smith's career average dropped below 60 after 167 innings after falling for 26 against Ravi Jadeja in Indore.
Did I tell you that Steve Smith's average dropped below 60 now?
59.89 in 167 innings..#INDvAUS
— Rohit Yadav (@cricrohit) March 1, 2023
Usman Khawaja innings helps Australia take lead
While Kohli and Smith are struggling, Usman Khawaja has stood tall this series for the Australians. Once maligned for difficulties playing against spin, particularly in the sub-continent, Khawaja proved a class above. Khawaja was calm against Ravi Ashwin and Jadeja as he played with a straight bat and worked with the spin.
Khawaja, having had a glimpse of how volatile the pitch had been during India's first innings, set about slowly constructing a total for Australia to defend. It was a carefully built innings from Khawaja, one which also allowed the likes of Marnus Labuschagne (31) and Steve Smith (28) to build a start to their respective innings. Khawja was ultimately brought undone attempting to sweep Jadeja to the boundary, lofting his shot into the waiting hands of Shubman Gill and departing for 60.
“Excellent half century, and just the way that he’s played. He’s seemed comfortable at the crease, he’s had soft hands, low hands … He hasn’t overhit. He’s been the standout for me today," Matthew Hayden said in Fox Sports commentary.
However, Australia will be keen to build on their lead in the first session of Day 2 with knowledge the controversial pitch could disintegrate as the days pass.
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