Australia captain Pat Cummins believes Cameron Green’s masterly 77 on a treacherous Galle track made all the difference in the opening test against Sri Lanka, which his side won by 10 wickets on Friday. Replying to Sri Lanka’s below-par 212, Australia endured a top-order wobble of their own to be 100-4 but Green forged half-century partnerships with Usman Khawaja and Alex Carey to secure their decisive first-innings lead of 109.
A spin-heavy Sri Lanka got a taste of their own medicine as Nathan Lyon and Travis head routed them in the second innings, paving the way for Australia’s comprehensive victory inside three days. Green, who learnt his cricket on faster pitches in Western Australia, was named player-of-the-match for what proved a decisive knock in the spin-dominated contest.
“Someone like Greeny has grown up at the WACA and over in Perth, it’s so different to here,” Cummins said after Australia went 1-0 up in the two-test series. “Players go through their whole careers looking for a method that works in these conditions, and in his first knock he’s found it.
“Really happy for him, he was fantastic, he was the difference.” While Green was part of the Australia side who triumphed 1-0 in Pakistan earlier this year, conditions were vastly different in Galle where the ball turned viciously and touring spinners claimed all 10 Sri Lanka wickets in the second innings.
Green said it was a special knock considering the conditions. “Playing in the sub-continent you’ve got a few unknowns how to go about it but there are a lot of experienced guys in the change-room, a few guys I can talk to to get a really good idea before I go out there,” the 23-year-old said.
On a wicket where only three batsmen managed half-centuries and none could convert them into a hundred, Green said senior players advised him not to retreat into his shell. “A few guys said just to be proactive. If you go out there just defending, you get yourself in trouble. Looking to score is how you give yourself the best chance,” he said.
“You’re going to get out at some point so you might as well play some shots.” Galle also hosts the second and final test from July 8.