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regular-article-logo Friday, 19 April 2024

Cameron Green ton revives Australia after middle-order collapse against New Zealand

Kiwis had bowled unproductively on cool, overcast morning and Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja had looked like carrying Australia to lunch without loss on green pitch

AP/PTI Wellington Published 01.03.24, 10:36 AM
Australia centurion Cameron Green acknowledges the crowd as he leaves the field at the end of the first day’s play during the first Test against New Zealand at Basin Reserve in Wellington on Thursday

Australia centurion Cameron Green acknowledges the crowd as he leaves the field at the end of the first day’s play during the first Test against New Zealand at Basin Reserve in Wellington on Thursday Getty Images

The sun came out around lunchtime at the Basin Reserve on Thursday. Its appearance at first breathed life into New Zealand’s bowling performance on the first day of the first Test against Australia.

Then the tall West Australian Cameron Green took the upper hand for Australia with an unbeaten 103, reaching his second Test century in the last over of the day. At stumps, Australia were 279/9 and Green appeared to have wrested control of the match from New Zealand at the last minute.

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Green was reluctant to say so. “The match is pretty close,” Green said.

“They’re probably just on top. They’ve got a quality ba­tting line-up and we’ve got to bowl well. It’s a lot about the overhead conditions and we’ve got to wake up and see how the overheads are.”

New Zealand had bowled unproductively on a cool, overcast morning and Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja had looked like carrying Australia to lunch without loss on a green pitch.

As the sun broke through the clouds and began to warm a capacity crowd at the inner-city oval, New Zealand’s luck changed. After going 24 overs without a breakthrough in the morning, Matt Henry dismissed Smith (31) 10 minutes before lunch.

Marnus Labuschagne (1) fell just after the resumption, then Khawaja (33) and Travis Head (1) were out as Australia slipped from 61/0 to 89/4.

Mitch Marsh and Green counter-attacked with a partnership of 67 for the fifth wicket before and directly after tea. Marsh made 40 from 39 balls. Green went on to turn the tide of the first day with his century from 154 balls. He lashed three late boundaries to do so, reaching his century from the penultimate ball of the day.

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