Cricket fans erupt over 'all-time' innings from Usman Khawaja and Cameron Green
Not since 1979 have two Australian batsmen combined for more runs in India than Usman Khawaja and Cameron Green.
Usman Khawaja has elevated his already strong form in India to another level in the fourth Test, combining with Cameron Green for Australia's highest partnership in India in 44 years. Khawaja, who has arguably been Australia's most consistent player in the series, was eventually dismissed for 180 by Axar Patel.
While the dismissal of Khawaja was something of an anticlimax for Aussie fans hoping to see him reach a double century after coming close against South Africa earlier this year, he and Green still combined to put Australia in a strong position as India continues their first innings on day three. The pair fell agonisingly short of Kim Hughes and Allan Border's record stand of 222 back in 1979, with Green (114) and Khawaja combining for a 208-run fifth wicket partnership.
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While they were short of the outright record, they nevertheless beat another mark set by Hughes in that same series, eclipsing the 206-run partnership with Graham Yallop in Kolkata. Those two, combined with an impressive tail-end stand from Todd Murphy (41) and Nathan Lyon (34), helped Australia reach a handy first innings total of 480.
After a low scoring series which has seen the previous three matches wrapped up within three days, the fourth Test appears destined to go the distance on the most batsman-friendly pitch of the series. Despite having less assistance from the pitch, India's Ravichandran Ashwin turned in an impressively consistent effort to pick up his 32nd career five-wicket haul.
While much attention was placed on Khawaja's mammoth innings, Green's own century was not to be overlooked. Green credited Khawaja for being a highly-regarded veteran presence in the Australia camp.
"With Uzzy, he's an experienced head who's played Test cricket for more than 10 years now," Green said. "He's so valuable for guys like myself and a few of the young guys in the team the way he goes about it.
"I'm trying to learn as much as I can off him, and, luckily enough, there are a lot of guys in the change rooms like that."
Hard to explain the feelings and emotions that go into sport. I'd never trade my journey in a million years but the journey is what made this so special. #180 #india #dontcallitacomebackivebeenhereforyears pic.twitter.com/PTg4754lRS
— Usman Khawaja (@Uz_Khawaja) March 10, 2023
Khawaja’s genius saw Australia amass 480 nonetheless scoring at 2.86 runs PO needs to be looked into. Cameron Green’s maiden hundred was faultless & his stand of 208 with Khawaja may well be decisive. Ashwin significantly on either side of tea was brilliant. Interesting Test?
— Dr. Nauman Niaz (@DrNaumanNiaz) March 10, 2023
Best part about Khawaja's inns was how assured he was in defence. And when he wanted to attack he went down the ground. Young Cam Green equally impressive! Well played 👏🏽 #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/en18b86wsF
— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) March 10, 2023
Brilliant knock @Uz_Khawaja - dare I say he could have tried to dominate the second session and added 20-30 more runs. Nevertheless well played 👏👏👏 #IndVsAus2023
— Vikrant Gupta (@vikrantgupta73) March 10, 2023
Well played @Uz_Khawaja. This one was an all-time classic for an Australian in India.
— Saurabh Malhotra (@MalhotraSaurabh) March 10, 2023
Usman Khawaja has now batted for 10 hours!
The longest by any visiting batter is 11 hours, 30 mins by Younis Khan (267) in Bangalore in March 2005.#IndvAus #IndvsAus #BGT #AusvsInd #AUSvIND
— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) March 10, 2023
Crucial partnership sets up Australia's fourth Test hopes against India
Ashwin ended up taking Green's wicket on his way to 6-91, but could not speak highly enough of the 23-year-old. Green was bought for a whopping $3.15 million by the Mumbai Indians in last year's Indian Premier League auction.
"I hope you tuned into the IPL auction, it just tells you how the Indian cricketing fraternity rates Cameron Green," Ashwin, who has 473 Test wickets, 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."
Ashwin also seemingly had a dig at his country's own development of young players when speaking about Green. "We come from different countries - India is very different, we can't protect such players for a long period of time. It's perform or perish," Ashwin said.
"But in countries like Australia and England, they're doing pretty well at (protecting players) and I expect Cameron Green to be a wonderful cricketer down the line."
After missing the first two matches of the series due to a broken finger, Green is making up for lost time. There were doubts whether he could make an impact after being out for two months, but he is playing better than ever.
"All the rehab and recovery I did over those few months has really helped get to where I am now," Green said. "It's been completely fine bowling, and batting there's maybe a couple of the pull shots hurt for a split second, but completely fine."
Former Australia great Matthew Hayden has liked what he has seen from Green since the towering WA debut.
"Ever since Cameron Green has been available to be picked for Australia, you can see the confidence rise," Hayden said during commentary. "He adds a great, unique balance to the team. When he finds his ultimate tempo in Test match cricket, look out world!"
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