The Roar
The Roar

Advertisement

Green makes most of promotion but questions remain over best spot as Bartlett's burst propels Aussies to victory

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Replay
Cancel
Next
Expert
2nd February, 2024
120
2131 Reads

Cameron Green made the most of his chance to show he can be a top-order batter in the ODI format but questions remain as to whether he is worth a run there in Australia’s full-strength team.

Green batted at first drop and compiled an unbeaten 77 off 104 deliveries in the eight-wicket win over the West Indies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday night as the home side cruised to the target of 232 with more than 11 overs to spare.

The comfortable victory before a crowd of only 16,342 in the opening clash of the three-match series was set up by debutant fast bowler Xavier Bartlett, who ripped through the tourists’ top order to take 4-17 from nine impressive overs.

Green blasted two sixes and found the boundary four more times but struggled to rotate the strike throughout the middle overs and hovered around a strike rate of 75 throughout his innings despite facing a pop-gun bowling attack from a side which did not qualify for last year’s World Cup.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 02: Cameron Green of Australia celebrates scoring 50 runs during game one of the One Day International series between Australia and West Indies at Melbourne Cricket Ground on February 02, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Morgan Hancock - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Cameron Green celebrates scoring 50. (Photo by Morgan Hancock – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

The 24-year-old Western Australian had a slice of luck when a miscued drive only just cleared the long-off boundary for his first six but there was nothing fortunate about his second one as he launched a mid-wicket heave into orbit to the longest boundary at the MCG.

Green has struggled to cement a spot in the full-strength line-up when batting in the lower order because he struggles to bat at a high run rate from the get-go. When everyone is available, the selectors would be reluctant to play him at three with Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, who are also accumulators rather than power hitters, coming in next.

Josh Inglis also made a positive start to his elevation in the order with the keeper opening alongside Travis Head.

Advertisement

After Head continued his hit-and-miss summer campaign to be out for just four in the first over, Inglis got stuck into the bowlers to smash 65 from just 43 deliveries before a reverse-sweep brought him undone.

Inglis, who needed just 28 balls to reach his half-century, hit the boundary rope 10 times and cleared it once in his whirlwind innings.

He was initially given not out after offering up a catch to slip but the Windies successfully reviewed the decision for left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie to snare his only wicket.

Smith (79 not out off 79) barely got out of second gear as the stand-in skipper partnered with Green to steer Australia to their inevitable victory.

The fact that Smith still struck at a run a ball despite taking few risks raises questions as to why Green cantered along at a more laborious pace.

Earlier in the day, Australia opened the ODI with two debutants sharing the new ball for the first time since Andy Bichel and Anthony Stuart did so at the Gabba in 1997.

Advertisement

But while all the pre-game talk was about Lance Morris finally making his international debut after a year of being unlucky to miss out as a squad member, it was Bartlett who stole the show.

He took the first three wickets after Smith won the toss and elected to bowl. Bartlett’s first came in his opening over when he produced a perfect outswinger to knock over Justin Greaves for one.

The 25-year-old Queenslander followed that up with the same delivery to trap Alick Athanaze in front but the Aussies elected not to review the decision against the left-hander even though the replay proved it was going to hit the top of his leg stump.

It didn’t matter much because Bartlett sent Athanaze on his way with a nick to Inglis on five and added skipper Shai Hope (12) with a snick to Matt Short at slip as the Windies slumped to 3-37.

Kavem Hodge (11) was out to a bad shot off Green before Keacy Carty and Roston Chase united for a 110-run stand to ensure the Windies avoided a rout and provided some hope that they could engineer a win.

Advertisement

Chase was bowled around his legs by Adam Zampa on 59 and Hope looked certain to reach a hundred but he was run out on 88 when Hayden Walsh called him through for a single that was never on and Sean Abbott threw down the stumps.

The 26-year-old hit six fours and two sixes and was understandably visibly upset when his batting partner left him stranded.

Bartlett returned in search of a five-for on debut and perhaps it was a good thing for him that he ended up with the second-best figures by an Australian on ODI debut.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 02: Xavier Bartlett of Australia celebrates the wicket of during game one of the One Day International series between Australia and West Indies at Melbourne Cricket Ground on February 02, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Morgan Hancock - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Xavier Bartlett celebrates at Melbourne Cricket Ground. (Photo by Morgan Hancock – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

The only debutant with better figures was Tony Dodemaide, who bagged 5-21 against Sri Lanka in 1988, and is on the current selection panel.

Morris finished with 0-59 from his 10 overs and although he bowled with hostile pace, he was too short or full without settling on a length.

Inglis was allowed to play despite testing positive to COVID-19, one of only five players who backed up from the World Cup-final winning team alongside Head, Smith, Zampa and Labuschagne.

Advertisement

The series moves to the SCG on Sunday.

close