Aus v NZ, 2022 – Cameron Green-Alex Carey alliance shines again to show match-changing qualities

It feels like there is something significant stirring in Australia’s middle order.

On Tuesday in Cairns, they combined to turn what appeared a likely defeat into a gripping victory, putting on 158 for the sixth wicket after Australia had been in a mess at 44 for 5.

They have now batted together twice in ODIs and have already added 239 runs, albeit the 81 they accrued against Pakistan in Lahore came in a heavy defeat.

Their runs against New Zealand came after Carey had been pushed down from No. 4 to No. 6 and Green moved a slot higher than originally listed to No. 7 after Australia’s early collapse. There is the natural complementary element of a right-hander and a left-hander, but there is clearly something that is clicking between the two when they join forces.

“Batting with Kez [Carey] is awesome,” Green said. “He just puts so much pressure back on the bowler. He’s always looking to score and I think that complements both of us. We are both guys who like to rotate the strike and obviously a left and right combination. Hopefully there’s a few more [partnerships] with him in the future.”

Green had to battle severe cramps in the closing stages of the chase – he said on Wednesday that it was a problem he has had to deal with throughout his career and when he played Aussie Rules football as a youngster – but for the most part had appeared unflustered by the challenge in front of him.

“We enjoy batting together, we work really well,” Carey said. “He scores pretty freely at the other end and we just bounce off each other nicely. You saw that he can come in any time so that’s a great feather in his cap. He’s a really calm character with bat, ball and in the field. Just goes about his business. We know how good he is but [he’s] taking this format [up] another step.”

“Everyone aspires to be [a three-format player] but will just have to wait and see how heavy the schedule is, how much time you get to actually improve your T20 game”

Cameron Green

Green has become part of Australia’s ODI side as they experiment with a deep batting order. Having played Ashton Agar in the last two matches against Zimbabwe following Mitchell Marsh’s injury, they reverted to that model by recalling Marnus Labuschagne in Cairns. It means that on some occasions, Green’s immense batting talents won’t be fully utilised, but having a Test-class batter to rescue Australia last night was key against the moving ball.

Despite it being just his 11th ODI, in the post-match presentation Green said his first half-century was a “monkey off his back” and he explained that it was more about having a template to use again. “Everyone wants to get that first one so you have an innings to look back on, so I can see how I went about it and replicate it in the future,” he said.

It feels inevitable that as the years go on, Green will move higher – No. 4 would not be over promotion when the vacancy arises – but for now he is focusing on expanding his white-ball batting, particularly power-hitting early in an innings, and will get a chance with the T20I side on the upcoming tour of India.

“[Hitting from ball one] is definitely something you have to work [on],” he said. “Doesn’t really come naturally to anybody, maybe a few of the best in the world, but it’s something everyone has to work on. Building your innings slowly comes a bit more naturally to most people.

“Everyone aspires to be [a three-format player] but will just have to wait and see how heavy the schedule is, how much time you get to actually improve your T20 game.”

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo