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Steve Smith's brilliant act for Cameron Green amid new details on Test opening call

The 34-year-old is relishing the opportunity to take over as David Warner's Test successor.

Seen here, Aussie Test cricket stars Steve Smith and Cameron Green.
Steve Smith wouldn't have felt comfortable if the Aussie Test cricket side asked Cameron Green to open the batting. Pic: Getty

Aussie cricket star Steve Smith has revealed classy details behind his decision to succeed David Warner as the country's next Test opener. The 34-year-old says he's been relishing the prospect of a new batting challenge but also revealed that the future of Cameron Green also factored into the decision-making process.

Selectors were keen to bring Green back into the Test side after the enormously talented all-rounder lost his place in the middle order to Mitch Marsh during last year's Ashes series. Marsh scored a stunning century against England on his Test recall and has kept Green out of the side with a succession of big scores that have cemented the 32-year-old's spot at No.6.

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Cricket Australia powerbrokers regard Green as a long-term Test star and were determined to get him back into the starting XI for Australia. It ultimately came down to a two-horse race between the West Australian and Smith as to who would replace Warner at the top of the order in an unfamiliar position for both batters.

In the end, it was the more experienced Smith who convinced selectors he was the right man for the job. The 105-Test veteran said Green was comfortable batting at No.4, where he's starred for WA in Sheffield Shield. Smith also conceded he wouldn't have felt comfortable with Green being recalled to the Aussie side and then being asked to bat out of position in one of the toughest roles in Test cricket.

"It didn't sit right having him come in and bat up top," Smith said. "I've played for a long time and I'm an experienced player and think it's something that I should have done. He's suited to No.4. Plays there in Shield cricket, does well there."

Smith says he first broached the idea of opening the batting during last year's Ashes. He brought it up again last month as Warner's retirement date drew closer but the idea wasn't really taken seriously until talking with coaches during the SCG Test against Pakistan.

Steve Smith excited by prospect of opening the batting

Australia's coach and selectors were won over by Smith's determination and the long history of success at Test level when batters have moved up the order. Smith says his previous move from first drop to No.4 was aimed at alleviating some of the burden when he was captain - something the 34-year-old does not have to worry about.

In fact, Smith's Test numbers against the new ball more than justify the decision to elevate him to the top of the order, with his average a staggering 106.2 when walking out to bat in the first two overs. Smith has predicted that his strike rate could improve at opener as he looks to attack the new ball, while opposition teams are also less likely to maintain their bouncer barrages on the 36-year-old, at least early in his innings.

"It would be pretty game if you've got a brand new ball bowling short stuff and wasting it," Smith said. "It helps the scoring rate when you're facing the new ball and there's a bit more attacking going on. Over the last few years I've come in after quite a lot of runs, the ball's a bit softer.

Pictured here is Aussie cricket star Steve Smith.
Steve Smith is relishing the prospect of opening the batting for the Aussie Test side. Pic: Getty

"(They) have a cover in and maybe four on the legside, guys are bowling straight and able to control the scoreboard a little bit more. That's probably kept me quieter and made me face a lot more balls to score runs. Perhaps that changes a bit with the new ball. You obviously have a bit more attacking fields and more gaps out there to score runs. I'm looking forward to that."

Smith says he's not entertaining the prospect of what will happen if his experiment at opener fails. The 36-year-old admitted he would be happy moving back down the order though if injury forced a reshuffle in the batting lineup and selectors deemed a traditional opener was the best option to come into the side.

"If someone gets injured in the middle and the next batters in are genuine openers, then maybe they slot back in (at the top) and I go back down," Smith added." I don't know the answer. But for right now we've got what we believe is our best six batters playing."

with AAP

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