NZ vs AUS, 1st Test: Green’s masterful ton revives Australia after Matt Henry torches visitors (Day 1, Stumps)

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Wellington: Cameron Green’s counterattacking ton revived troubled Australia in a see-saw opening day of the first Test against New Zealand after Matt Henry went all-out with his pace attack to dismantle the visitors at the Basin Reserve on Thursday.

Green cemented his place as Australia’s No. 4 with a superb century against New Zealand’s all-out pace assault to help his team post 279/9 on boards at the time of stumps. Led by quick bowler Henry’s 4-43, the Blackcaps threatened to dismiss their highly regarded opponents for a low score but Green found willing accomplices in the lower order and launched a thrilling attack minutes before stumps to achieve his second Test tonne.

Green was on 91 when second-last man Nathan Lyon was caught off the final ball of the day’s penultimate over.
In the last session of the day, With time and chance running out, Green smashed boundaries over mid-on and extra cover, took a reckless swing that yielded nothing, and then completed his tally with a perfectly struck-back cut with one ball remaining in the day.

Put to bat on a green surface, Australia’s top order faced the onerous challenge of dealing with a four-prong seam assault in (overcast) circumstances favourable to their art. As a result, the hosts only managed to save one wicket in the Test match’s tense first session. They may have been guilty of not bowling full enough in the opening hour, and while they did beat Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja’s bats on a few occasions, no serious opportunities were generated.

With the first ball of the 25th over, Henry pulled an outside edge off Smith’s bat with a jumbled seam delivery that was cleanly snagged by keeper Tom Blundell.

Following a 67-run opening session, the play after lunch provided a better indication of the circumstances on offer. Scott Kuggeleijn dismissed a defensive Marnus Labuschagne, who scored one run off 27 deliveries, before being stuck to the crease when trying a full ball. Daryl Mitchell made the grab at first slip to end Labuschagne’s stay.
Another full ball from Henry put an end to Khawaja’s tenacious fight, as he failed to account for the inward curve on a delivery from around the stumps, losing his stumps.

When Travis Head was bowled by O’Rourke in the next over, Australia were reduced to 89/4 and faced the threat of a low score. Green and Mitchell Marsh launched a fast counter-offensive to get the visitors out of their slump.
Marsh raced away to 26 off 19 with a six and a four off the top and outside edges, respectively, but the two Australia all-rounders’ approach dispersed New Zealand bowlers from their control zones. Marsh, attempting to stay true to his counter-attacking temperament, top-edged a Henry short ball and was caught by the keeper, ending the 67-run fifth-wicket partnership just after tea.

Green, on the other hand, continued to gain confidence and struck Kuggeleijn for three boundaries in four balls, bringing Australia closer to the important 200-run barrier. Brief score: Australia 279/9 (Cameron Green 103, Mitchell Marsh 40; Matt Henry 4-43) vs New Zealand.

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