Australia all-rounder Cameron Green is proving to be a handful for Joe Root at the Ashes… two dismissals to the same player can prey on a player’s mind – even one of the England captain’s calibre
- Cameron Green removed England’s captain Joe Root for 62 on the third day
- The Australian has got the better of Root – now getting rid of him twice
- Repetitive downfalls to the same bowler can prey on any player’s mind
- Australia will want to examine Root and see if he is uncomfortable against Green
On the limited evidence so far, it would be premature to say Cameron Green is Joe Root’s nemesis.
Let’s be fair, this is hardly the kind of torment that Michael Atherton habitually underwent at the hands of the great Glenn McGrath.
Two dismissals hardly make you someone’s bunny. However, repetitive downfalls to the same bowler can prey on a player’s mind. Even one of Root’s calibre.
Cameron Green celebrates with his team-mates after tacking the wicket of Joe Root for 62
It is the second innings in a row that Green has got the better of the England captain (pictured)
Saturday was the second time in successive innings that the 30-year-old fell to the hulking, 6ft 6in all-rounder, poking at a delivery travelling through the area his fellow Yorkshireman Geoffrey Boycott would call the corridor of uncertainty.
Root fell in the second of six maidens after lunch following a wicketless morning, gobbled up at slip by rival captain Steve Smith: a sequence of events that will emphasise to the Australian think-tank that England’s best batter is vulnerable to a bowler who had not taken a wicket in four previous Test appearances prior to this series.
He certainly appears to be unsure about leaving Green. The young Australian’s excellent post-dinner spell at the Adelaide Oval featured an exemplary line, with four-fifths of deliveries in the channel outside off stump, the highest proportion of any bowler in the Test by the end of the third day.
And Root is clearly bothered by it. As a player who likes to feel bat on ball to develop rhythm, he left just seven balls from Green despite the majority failing to threaten the stumps.
That is something the Australians will surely now look at whenever their main seamers rest. It may trigger Green’s future entrances to the attack coming ahead of schedule.
Picked in Australia’s top six for prolific and consistent scoring over recent Sheffield Shield seasons — he opened 2021-22 with a hundred and added three 50s in his next four appearances — his success in this series has been a surprise element.
Australia moved closer to second Test victory after another England collapse on Saturday
Up until the close of play on day three, his wicket to run ratio against England this month was 5:2.
And his removals of Root have been integral to England collapses. In Brisbane, he and Dawid Malan were both set yet dismissed within three overs and the domino effect was eight for 74. Here, they fell within half a dozen as eight went down at a cost of 86.
Five-match series have a tendency to develop sub-plots; create match-ups that test theories. Australia will want to fully examine the one that says Root is uncomfortable against Green.
Just as they will want Ollie Pope to face plenty of Nathan Lyon early in an innings. Tormented by spin in India last winter, Lyon was already bowling when he arrived at the crease at the Adelaide Oval. The passage of play that ensued, with an overturned catch to short leg before eventual snaring in the same trap, did not inspire confidence.
Australia will want Ollie Pope to face plenty of Nathan Lyon (above) early in an innings
But it is the development of Green that is most intriguing for a country that has struggled to produce a world-class all-rounder in the modern era. There were great hopes for Shane Watson when he attempted to become an Andrew Flintoff clone in the mid-Noughties but his brittle body and superior skills in white-ball cricket proved a hindrance.
Like Watson, Green, 22, has been plagued with stress fractures of the back, meaning his five-wicket haul on first-class debut at 17 was a rare showcase of his bowling talents.
But he has blossomed under mentor Matt Mason, the Australian who spent 15 years at Worcestershire, their working relationship at Western Australia bringing ‘everything he’s learned over the past decade in England.’
On Saturday, he was the second quickest behind Mitchell Starc, as well as the most effective when it came to bowling to Root.