Fans erupt as Cameron Green sparks half hour of chaos for South Africa

Fresh from signing a $3 million IPL deal, Cameron Green showed South Africa why he was so highly valued on day one of the Boxing Day Test.

Cameron Green raises his arms in celebration after taking a wicket against South Africa at the Boxing Day Test.
Cameron Green took his first Test five-wicket haul in a terrific Boxing Day Test performance. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Cameron Green ripped through the South African tail-end in less than half an hour on day one of the Boxing Day Test to put the hosts in a commanding position heading into day two at the MCG. Fans erupted at the all-rounder's blitz, which condemned the Proteas to a sixth straight Test innings in in which they accumulated less than 300 runs.

The spotlight has been on Green after he attracted a hefty $3 million price tag to join the Mumbai Indians in the IPL, the highest figure for any Australian player since Pat Cummins in 2020. With a devastating spell culminating in first innings figures of 5-27 from his 10.4 overs, he proved why Mumbai had been so desperate to recruit the 23-year-old.

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Green's first wicket came in the first session of the day and helped contribute to a brief middle-order collapse for South Africa, before Kyle Verreynne (59) and Marco Jansen (59) resuscitated their innings with a century partnership. But it was Green who made the crucial breakthrough, first removing Verreynne in the 64th over before getting Jansen caught behind on his next over.

The Proteas tail proved to be extremely vulnerable and Green took full advantage, clean bowling both Kasigo Rabada and Lungi Ngidi to record his first Test five-wicket haul. The 23-year-old will have further pressure on him in the second innings, with strike bowler Mitchell Starc injuring his finger in the outfield earlier in the innings.

After taking 4-7 in devastating final two-over spell, Green said it was nice to show what he was capable of with the spotlight on him. “That’s cricket summed up,” he said.

“You can have a really slow start to the summer and think cricket’s so tough and then you have a few days like this, and it brings you back. It’s probably still hasn’t sunk in now. It’s a very special feeling, and I’m sure I’ll remember that for a very long time.”

Green also earned begrudging praise for his efforts from South African batsman Verreynne. He said Green ability to extract extra pace and bounce when he joins the attack was something that could easily catch many batsman unaware.

"He’s a bit different to the other three guys,” Verreynne said at stumps. “Obviously he’s so tall, so he gets quite a bit of bounce … and I felt like he’s got the ability to shape the ball as well.

“He offers a bit extra there … they get to use him in short bursts, so he can just run in with a lot of energy, and as a batter, you’ve got to make sure that you’re switched on for those periods. It’s a luxury that they have.”

After the Gabba's controversial green top, the MCG pitch is not showing nearly as many demons. Verreynne said the most disappointing part of Monday for South Africa was there were too many soft dismissals.

He said the ball was starting to turn and suspects their left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj will play a prominent part. "There were already some balls that started turning today, so it might not be the seamers that come into play - Kesh might play a big role," he said. "It seems like a better wicket to bat on."

With AAP

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