AUS VS NZ Test 2024: Green’s Hits a Stellar Century as Australia Faces New Zealand’s Fiery Attack

AUS VS NZ Test Series: In a gripping showdown at Wellington, Cameron Green’s standout century propelled Australia against New Zealand’s relentless pace barrage, underscoring his prowess as Australia’s No. 4 batsman.

Despite battling cramps and enduring a formidable attack led by Matt Henry on a testing pitch, Green’s resilient innings steered Australia admirably in the opening day of the first Test.

AUS VS NZ Test 2024: Green’s Hits a Stellar Century as Australia Faces New Zealand’s Fiery Attack

After being brought back into the side for just four innings, Green overcame cramping to reach his second century in a Test match by swatting a boundary through backward point on the final ball before stumps. Late in the innings, he put an exhausting New Zealand attack to the test and finished undefeated on 103 off 155 balls.

Following a half-century opening partnership between Usman Khawaja and Steven Smith, Australia’s shaky innings collapsed to 4 for 28, with wickets from Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head. This was Australia’s first Test in New Zealand since 2016.

However, Australia steadied themselves with a 67-run partnership between Green and Mitchell Marsh, who counterpunched with 40 off 39 balls, and completed the first day of the two-match series happy with their return after being sent in.

After a tense beginning, Green calmed down and combined potent defense with eye-catching drives. He was also creative, shuffling down the crease to counter Matt Henry’s incredible movement. In the Sheffield Shield, Green, who bats No. 4 for Western Australia, nearly offered Tim Southee a return catch as the ball passed through his hands and raced to the boundary, setting up a dangerous scenario for him to complete his half-century.

Green’s inclusion in the lineup following David Warner’s retirement, along with the choice to play Shield cricket instead of T20 cricket to prepare for this series, have proven to be wise decisions.

Henry made excellent use of the surface by bowling relentlessly outside the off-stump. His outstanding performance of 4 for 43 from 20 overs was capped by a magnificent delivery that knocked over Khawaja’s middle stump.

AUS VS NZ Test 2024: Green’s Hits a Stellar Century as Australia Faces New Zealand’s Fiery Attack

As the day went on, the noticeably green surface grew faster and had uneven bounce. Will O’Rourke, however, maintained his impressive start to Test cricket by hitting powerful short-pitched deliveries that hopped off a length.

Having only triumphed over Australia once in 29 Test matches since 1993, New Zealand continued to employ a seam-heavy strategy, selecting to play Scott Kuggeleijn instead of calling up left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner.
Australia fielded the same front-line assault for the sixth consecutive Test, remaining unaltered from the team that was stunned by the West Indies by eight runs at the Gabba last month.

With firebrand Neil Wagner having retired, and him coming back later in the day as a replacement fielder, a new era had begun. New Zealand’s new-look quicks were looking to make early gains against an Australia top-order that was still getting adjusted after Warner’s departure.

In keeping with a long-standing tradition of captains choosing to bowl at Basin Reserve, Southee sent Australia in under cloudy skies without hesitation.
Henry was engaged in an intriguing game of patience with Khawaja as he bowled a thorough six-over session with the new ball, helped by a strong breeze.

Smith began his first Test innings as an opener away from home uneasy, but his confidence was bolstered with a signature cover drive to the boundary off an infrequently loose Southee delivery. However, after losing the strike, Smith showed signs of jitteriness once more and went for a daring single, only for Khawaja to intercept him as he was rushing to the non-striker’s end.
Australia looked set to cruise through the opening session until Smith, playing his third Test since moving up in the order, chipped away at Henry to finish on 31 off 71 as New Zealand built a lead going into the second.

AUS VS NZ Test 2024: Green’s Hits a Stellar Century as Australia Faces New Zealand’s Fiery Attack

After lunch, Kuggeleijn, who had been pushing into the crease, pushed over a reluctant Labuschagne and produced an outside edge that Daryl Mitchell superbly collected low to his left at first slip. Labuschagne’s lean patch persisted as he walked off, obviously unhappy, having made just 1 off 27 balls.

Head was relieved to start the Test match with a single following a king pair against the West Indies at the Gabba. Lately, he has been feast or famine at the Test level. However, after being undone by O’Rourke’s extra pace to be caught off the shoulder of the bat, he failed to add to his total.

Unfazed by Australia’s situation, Marsh continued his incredible comeback at the Test level with a first-ball boundary. After tea, he stopped New Zealand’s attack and then misplayed a pull shot off Henry, which led to Alex Carey’s dismissal.

Green’s decisive innings turned the tide of the match, leaving Australia in danger of being bowled out for less than 200.

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