April 15, 2023

Cameron Green toasts ‘special’ ton vs India – ‘Nice to get that monkey off your back’

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Cameron Green admitted his relief at crossing three figures for the first time in Test cricket while he was lauded as a “once in a generation” cricketer by R Ashwin.

Five times, Green had fallen between 74 and 84 in his embryonic Test career but shortly after lunch on the second day in Ahmedabad – after a somewhat uneasy interval sat on 95 – he was able to celebrate a significant milestone.

“You feel more like a Test cricketer when you’ve got that monkey off your back, so it is nice to tick that off in a way,” he said. “It’s so special.”

Green was eventually dismissed when he gloved a sweep down the leg side against Ashwin. The duo first came up against each other in Green’s debut series against India in 2020-21. Ashwin joked that you only had to look at the IPL auction to know what Indian cricket thought of Green and recalled his first experience against him when Green scored a century for Australia A.

“I think he’s a fantastic player,” Ashwin said. “Just the raw materials for a person as tall as him, lovely levers, good batting sense, can bowl and really hit the deck well, moves pretty well in the field. These are once in a generation cricketers you are talking about.

“I played a practice game against him at Drummoyne Oval in Sydney (on the 2020-21 tour). From there on, I’ve been watching him bat, how well he moves to balls outside off, how well he comes down the pitch, how he sweeps the ball when he came to the subcontinent. As a bowler it’s my duty to keep a check on all these things and also try to make a plan to try and make it uncomfortable for him.”

Meanwhile, Green praised the wise counsel of Usman Khawaja with who he shared a mammoth stand of 208 in 60 for the sixth wicket. Khawaja converted his overnight century into 180 before missing a flick against Axar Patel the first ball after tea. It meant he fell short of a double century for the second time in little more than two months after being left stranded on 195 when Pat Cummins declared against South Africa in Sydney.

It was some early feedback from Khawaja that helped set Green up to drive so imperiously during his innings as he took a particular heavy toll on India’s two quicks.

“I think speaking to Uzzy, it was probably the ball coming back in where you might get your leg caught in the way and that might be the way to get out,” Green said. “Having an experienced head down the other end, you can have these really in depth conversations and he gives you unreal info back.

“So spoke to him pretty early on, he said he recommends batting on leg stump and using your bat and looking to play every ball, whether its swinging in or swinging out.

“He’s an experienced head that’s played Test cricket for more than 10 years now, he’s so valuable for guys like myself and a few of the young guys in the team the way he goes about it.”

After a maiden five-wicket haul against South Africa at the MCG, in the game he suffered a broken finger, this century is another early high point in a career that continues to trend upwards but Green was eager to keep things in perspective.

“It’s my 20th Test so I’ve had a good chance to see the ups and downs of Test cricket, see it for what it is,” he said. “It’s an incredibly tough game, and when you get moments like that you really cherish them. I’ve seen how tough Test cricket is and I’m enjoying every second of it.”

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