As India battles it out with Australia in the opening ODI of the series, Ravichandran Ashwin who was a part of the recently concluded Test series talked at length about the Aussie spinners. The Australian spinners were quite an enigma for the Indian batters in the recently concluded Test series. The newfound bowling pack of Nathan Lyon, Matthew Kuhnemann and Todd Murphy gave a lot of troubles to the seasoned Indian campaigners.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were the two top wicket-takers of the series with Ashwin bagging 25 wickets while Jadeja claiming 22. Both the players were awarded the Player of the series jointly as the latter impressed with crucial runs that saved India under the pump. Nathan Lyon, however, was the highest wicket taker for Australia after two solid displays that left the Indians gasping for breath.
Here is what Ravichandran Ashwin had to say about Todd Murphy
Talking on Todd Murphy’s brilliance who was fourth in the list of highest wicket-takers, Ashwin said on his Youtube Channel, “Nathan Lyon did pick up 20 wickets in this series. However, the pressure was built by other spinners too. Todd Murphy had a sensational debut series. You might wonder what is there to talk about Todd Murphy. This is his first tour to India. I remember many spinners’ first tour to India.”
He further added, “Lyon came here first in 2013. He went to Sri Lanka before that. Todd Murphy came here 10 to 50 times better than how Nathan Lyon came here on his first Test tour. I am not saying that he is a better bowler in terms of quality, skill, or performance. I am talking about his capacity and composure to be able to bowl around the stumps and over the stumps.”
Here is how Nathan Lyon was different from Todd Murphy in his opening series in India
Throwing in a bit of context, a decennium ago, when Lyon featured in his first Test series in India, he ended the series with 15 wickets in three Test, including a seven-wicket-haul. And this time around, Murphy emulated Lyon’s earlier figures, picking 7/124 himself. He constantly troubled the star-studded Indian batting line-up dismissing Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara in Nagpur and ended the series with 3/113 and having scored a crucial 43.
Ashwin continued, “In the Ahmedabad Test, he [Murphy] bowled most of his overs from over the stumps. Until then, he was bowling around the stumps. But from both around and over, he looked equally comfortable. He was able to attack the stumps while bowling from around the wicket as well as over the wicket.”
He also said, “Lyon’s strongest feature is that he uses Mitchell Starc’s footmark really well. He bowls the sixth-stump and seventh-stump line really well. That has been his bread and butter. That’s how he has built his ten-year career. Because in a country like Australia, there won’t be much happening for the spinners from the centre of the surface. He has to make things happen from the foot holes only. His bowling, his pace, his trajectory and his body position are all attuned to that.”
Ashwin concluded by saying, “Whereas Todd Murphy, being the current-generation spinner that he is, is attacking the stumps from over the stumps. He is also bowling from wide of the stumps. He is going from around the wicket and attacking the stumps. And he is also taking the odd ball away. He is not only bowling the fast back-of-the-length delivery but also has an odd slower one. That flight is definitely catching the batter by surprise. It’s not that easy to go on the back foot and play him. So a lot of credit to Todd Murphy.”