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Green ton steers Aussies to 279-9


By AFP
Published : 29 Feb 2024 08:52 PM

Cameron Green slammed only his second Test century Thursday to steer Australia to 279-9 at stumps on the opening day of the first Test in Wellington.

The visitors were tottering on 89-4 after being put into bat at the Basin Reserve before Green dug in for a rescue mission with the help of Mitchell Marsh, who made 40.

The 24-year-old brought up three figures with his 16th four in the final over to end day one on 103 with Josh Hazlewood yet to score.

"Obviously it feels really good, mainly with where we were as a team," Green said.

"It was a pretty tough wicket out there ... someone just needed to bat through so glad it was me. Was nice to stick it out there, and hopefully put a semi-competitive total on the board." Green, batting at number four, fought back after New Zealand seamer Matt Henry took the key wickets of Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja and Marsh to end with 4-43 on a green pitch.

Henry dismissed Smith for 31 before lunch, bowled Khawaja for 33 after the break then snagged Marsh and Nathan Lyon, for five.

Scott Kuggeleijn, restored to the side, also grabbed two wickets, removing out-of-form Marnus Labuschagne for one and Alex Carey for 10.

Black Caps rising star Will O'Rourke, who took nine wickets on his debut this month, bagged two more in the shape of Travis Head (1) and Mitchell Starc (9).

Green said the wicket would still offer plenty for the Australian quick bowlers on Friday.

"It's pretty close, I reckon they are just on top," he said. "They have a quality batting line-up and we have to bowl well tomorrow."

Marsh and Green offered the resistance with a 67-run partnership off 77 balls. But Marsh succumbed to Henry, caught behind by Tom Blundell, before Carey meekly slapped a Kuggeleijn delivery to Kane Williamson at cover.

With stumps beckoning, New Zealand attacked Australia's tail with Starc, Pat Cummins and Lyon dismissed in the space of 57 runs.