Although Will Pucovski may have provided the greatest intrigue heading into day 2 of Australia A’s tour match with India A, it was Cameron Green who emphatically stamped his claim for a test debut.
After India declared their first innings at 9-247, Australian fans were chomping at the bit to see the showdown between incumbent test opener Joe Burns, and young gun Pucovski. However the anticipation meekly played out to nothing more than a nil all draw, both players falling early for single figure scores.
After Marcus Harris, Travis Head and Nic Maddinson were all left to rue unfulfilled starts, the Australians were left teetering at 5-98. Enter a 100-run partnership by two players at the opposite end of the career spectrum, 35-year-old test captain Tim Paine and the uncapped 21-year-old Green.
Although he produced two chances that were grassed by Indian fielders, Green, batting at number five, orchestrated a sublime innings that culminated with an unbeaten 114.
His elegant stroke play and crisp foot movement belied that of his 200cm frame. The innings made all the more valuable by the situation of the game where ball had dominated bat.
Australia have long sought an all-rounder capable of playing substantial long form innings’ whilst under pressure. On day one, although he remained wicketless, Green’s threatening eight overs displayed the consistency of someone that can form a major part of a successful bowling unit.
But for all the positive chatter, the countless adjectives to describe an unreal display, Green still seems destined to sit on the sidelines for the first test match of the summer.
Although there was a chorus of calls that suggested he had no doubt earned himself a place, including from former players such as Brad Hogg, the answer to who Green replaces is far from clear cut.
It’s difficult to see a world in which Australia leave out Travis Head or Matthew Wade, and although there’s a gaping whole at the top of the Australian batting order, it seems even more unlikely that things would be shuffled around to accommodate Green. The third ODI saw Marnus Labuschagne open for the injured David Warner, a move that failed and seems preposterous to entertain in the longest form of the game.
For now, despite scoring 109 more runs than the two combined, Green remains at much higher odds to be included in Australia’s XI than either Burns or Pucovski.
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