Cameron Green century rescues Australia in first Test against New Zealand

Cameron Green’s defiant century spared Australia’s blushes in the first Test against New Zealand, holding the line and pushing Australia through to stumps at 279-9 on the opening day. Matt Henry led an all-pace assault on a green Basin Reserve wicket in Wellington on Thursday, taking 4-43 and troubling Australian batsmen across all three sessions.

Only Green was able to raise the bat for a half-century, finishing with an unbeaten 103 to deny the Kiwi attack a chance to dismiss Australia inside the opening day. Starting the final over on 91, Green blasted Will O’Rourke for two fours in his first three balls to get to 99.

After nearly chopping on the fourth delivery, he cut truly for four off the day’s second last delivery to celebrate his second Test ton. The 24-year-old allrounder’s innings was his best for a year, and one of the most consequential of his career. From 89-4, Green worked with Mitch Marsh (40) and others to steady the Australian ship, ensuring a balanced first day of the much-anticipated series.

Australia might be the happier of the two teams at stumps, given they were sent in by Black Caps skipper Tim Southee, and lost 4-28 either side of lunch. On Australia’s first Test tour of New Zealand in eight years, the Black Caps revelled early in conditions they know all too well – a fresh southerly breeze in the Kiwi capital, overcast conditions and a green-tinged pitch.

Henry was the chief tormentor, fizzing the ball at a good length and forcing Australia’s batters to make tough decisions with every delivery. Steve Smith was his first victim, caught behind defending a ball that deviated off the pitch as Australia limped to 62-1 at lunch.

Marnus Labuschagne (one) followed shortly after the break having barely troubled the scorers, edging Scott Kuggeleijn to first slip with a similar delivery. It was Labuschagne’s fifth failure in a row after four scores of 10 runs or fewer in the home series against West Indies.

After dogged early resistance, Usman Khawaja (33 off 118 deliveries) fell from a Henry change-up, the 32-year-old ripping an inswinger that crashed through the opener’s defence and bowled him. When Travis Head (one) followed – caught behind off O’Rourke – the very next over, Australia were rocking, having lost 4-28 and with two new batters at the crease.

Marsh and Green responded by putting together Australia’s best partnership, upping the run rate as well courtesy of Marsh, who struck a run-a-ball 40 featuring half a dozen boundaries and a six. With Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins out cheaply – the latter to part-time spinner Rachin Ravindra – Green continued on, pushing the Australian total past 250.

In just their second Tests, O’Rourke (2-59) and Kuggeleijn (2-56), who was preferred to spinner Mitchell Santner, played able support hands to veteran pacemen Henry and Southee. New Zealand, who have won their past five Tests at the Basin Reserve, are hunting a first home Test win over Australia in 31 years.


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.