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Cricket world torches New Zealand as Cameron Green makes Black Caps gamble backfire

The all-rounder made 174 not out to turn the first Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on its head.

Michael Clarke, pictured here alongside Cameron Green and Josh Hazlewood.

New Zealand's decision to bowl first in the opening Test against Australia has blown up in their faces, with Cameron Green continuing his counter-punching onslaught on day two in a masterful knock of 174 not out. Green saved Australia from embarrassment on the first day in Wellington, taking the Aussies to 9-279 at stumps with his second Test century.

The all-rounder rescued the tourists after they were 4-89 and 6-176 and looking like being bowled out for less than 200. The Kiwis still would have liked where they were sitting at stumps after asking Australia to bat first, but Green blazed away on Friday morning to turn the game even further on its head.

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The 24-year-old brought up his maiden 150 in Test cricket when he heaved a six into the crowd beyond the deep mid-wicket boundary. He combined for a record 10th wicket partnership of 116 with Josh Hazlewood on Friday, who made the highest score (22) from an Australian No.11 in a Test match in New Zealand. The partnership was the biggest in Tests at the Basin Reserve and also the biggest 10th wicket stand for Australia in NZ, and helped the tourists post a remarkable total of 383 all out.

The average total while batting first at the Basin Reserve is a tick over 300, but Black Caps skipper Tim Southee still opted to bowl first on a very green pitch on Thursday. His decision paid early dividends as the majority of the Aussie order faltered, but Green's second Test century and highest score took the game away from the Kiwis.

Cameron Green and Josh Hazlewood in the first Test against New Zealand.
Cameron Green and Josh Hazlewood combined to frustrate New Zealand on day two of the first Test. (Hagen Hopkins via Getty Images)

Michael Clarke calls out New Zealand over bowling display

As a number of commentators pointed out, the Kiwis didn't bowl nearly enough balls that were hitting the stumps. The outside off-stump line worked against Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head on Thursday, but Green and Mitch Marsh feasted.

Speaking before the second day, Michael Clarke said Australia were “well and truly on top” and Thursday was "definitely Australia’s day." The former Australia captain said on Sky Sports radio: “Green wicket. Sent into bat. It seamed and swung all day. If New Zealand get it right they bowl Australia out for 200, or 220 max.

"I thought they were too short, especially in that first two-hour period before lunch. Little rule we have when we’re playing, certainly at that level that if it looks good on TV, it’s generally a foot too short. When the batsman is playing and missing regularly it looks brilliant when you’re watching from the couch and you’re saying, ‘Oh how has he not nicked that’.

“But generally when you’re playing against good opposition that means you’re a foot short. You want them actually looking to drive the ball on a pitch like that while the ball is new.”

Tim Southee in the first Test against Australia.
Tim Southee's decision to bowl first backfired spectacularly. (Hagen Hopkins via Getty Images)

Kiwi commentator Craig McMillan was also critical of the tactics on Friday after the Black Caps resorted to bowling short with men on the boundary. " You're just waiting for a mistake from the batter, rather than having that positive attitude," he said.

" Australia has scored at a good rate... I just find it a bit negative from New Zealand, they had the opportunity to take the positive action, be a little bit more aggressive. It's put them on the back foot, and the concern is that sometimes that will bleed into your next innings."

Cameron Green silences critics with sensational century

Green's sensational knock vindicated the call to move him to No.4 in the order. While Smith hasn't set the world on fire as an opener, Green has seemingly cemented his spot. "It was a pretty tough wicket out there. Someone just needed to bat through, and I'm glad it was me," he said at stumps on day one.

"It's always satisfying scoring runs for Australia. When you're not playing in the team it does make you stop and think how special it actually is to play for Australia. Sometimes you do forget that when you're playing so much, so it's nice to be back."

Given the liveliness of the Basin Reserve pitch, Green said Australia could seize the momentum on day two. "That's what's really exciting about tomorrow," he said. "We've got a total that's reasonably competitive, especially with our bowling line-up."

with AAP

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