Green guides Australia to 2-wicket ODI win over New Zealand
CAIRNS, Australia (AP) — Cameron Green’s unbeaten 89 and century partnership with Alex Carey led Australia’s recovery from a top-order collapse to beat New Zealand by two wickets in the series-opening one-day international on Tuesday.
The 6-foot-6 allrounder went in with Australia reeling at 44-5 in pursuit of 233 for victory and was still there, cramping and struggling to run, when the target was reached with five overs to spare.
Green twice needed treatment from the physiotherapist for cramps in his legs, initially when he was on 78 and again after hobbling through for a single to get Australia within 10 runs of victory.
He got some reprieve during a brief delay for rain when Australia still needed four runs, and finished a nervy 26-run ninth-wicket stand with Adam Zampa. Green’s 92-ball innings contained 10 boundaries and a six.
Australia captain Aaron Finch said considering the start of the innings, the 158-run sixth-wicket stand between Green and Carey (85) was “unbelievable.”
“They soaked up a lot of pressure,” he said. “It would have been great if they were both there at the end, and made it a bit more stress free.”
Finch said Green would be feeling sore and tired, and listed the allrounder’s ailments that included cramps from his calf muscles to his forearms.
“It’s an amazing effort for him,” Finch said. “To get up in just his 11th (ODI) game to play a match-winning knock like that was outstanding.”
Australia won its three-match series against Zimbabwe last week but was coming off an upset loss in the last game on Sunday.
Finch chose to bowl against New Zealand, and Australia restricted the world’s top-ranked ODI team to 232-9. Allrounder Glenn Maxwell took 4-52 and paceman Josh Hazlewood snared 3-31.
Devon Conway (46), skipper Kane Williamson (45), Tom Latham (43) and Michael Bracewell (26) all made promising starts for New Zealand before losing their wickets to the versatile Maxwell in conditions perfect for his slower offbreaks.
New Zealand’s Trent Boult grabbed three early wickets with some vintage in-swing bowling, removing Finch (5), Steve Smith (1) and Marnus Labuschagne (0), and Matt Henry dismissed David Warner (20) and Marcus Stoinis (5) to have Australia in serious trouble after 12 overs.
But Carey and Green steadied the innings and, with plenty of overs in hand and the pitch improving, set about gradually chasing down the required runs.
Carey survived a close review for lbw off Mitchell Santner on 68 and lofted the next ball down the ground for a boundary.
Green was on 68 when he top-edged an attempted pull shot to a short ball from Lockie Ferguson and Boult put down a regulation chance at fine leg.
Boult bowled the subsequent over that went for 11 runs, including a boundary from Carey that raised the 150 partnership, and Australia appeared to be back in complete command.
But Carey’s 99-ball innings ended when he hit a short ball from Ferguson directly to Henry at mid-on to make the total 202-6 in the 40th over.
New Zealand picked up two more quick wickets, with Boult (4-40) dismissing Maxwell (2) in his last over and Ferguson dismissing Mitchell Starc (1) as the Australian total slipped to 207-8.
But Green and Zampa held their nerve to finish the game, albeit in a slower-than-regulation pace.
The teams will meet again in Cairns on Thursday and Sunday.
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