Green’s candid admission after falling short of maiden Test century

It was the first time Australia had recorded a sixth-wicket century partnership since Green and Tim Paine put on 104 against India at the SCG in 2021.

The stars looked to have aligned for Green, whose back-foot cover drive on 23 was as close to perfection as you will get on a cricket field.

He was a man on a mission, having brought up a fourth Test half-century, before being bowled by Naseem Shah for 79, five shy of his highest score. It triggered a mini-collapse as Australia’s tail wilted in the Lahore heat.

But the most intriguing element of Green’s innings came after play with a candid admission relating to being removed for the fourth time between 74 and 84 in Tests.

“Unfortunately I keep having thoughts going through my head when I’m out in the middle,” Green said. “It’s becoming a bit of an issue because they keep popping in. I’ve got to keep working on that, feel comfortable when you get close to it, and hopefully it comes one day.”

Asked what he would savour more, a Test hundred or a five-wicket haul, Green was quick to answer.

“Definitely a Test hundred,” Green said. “It’s something I’ve been working towards my whole life and if it comes that would be awesome.”

The simple secret to Green’s success is how straight he tries to hit the ball. He is a full face of the bat player, when others often get tempted to work the ball squarer than necessary when straight fields nullify comfortable scoring zones. No wonder when balls whiz back past the bowler, viewers can’t help but draw comparisons with Ricky Ponting.

But on this occasion, Naseem got one to nip back sharply, thanks to some eye-catching reverse swing, and Green played outside the line, thinking the ball was moving away from him.

Once the disappointment wears off that a maiden Test ton was there for the taking, Green can take solace in the fact that Naseem’s delivery was close to unplayable.

In 2020, Greg Chappell labelled Green the country’s best batting talent since Ponting began plundering pace bowlers twice his age. It’s hard not to draw parallels between them.

Ponting was 22 when he played his 12th Test. By the end of that match, having batted at No.6 against New Zealand in 1997, the Tasmanian had compiled 690 runs from 19 innings at 38.33.

Green is also 22 playing his 12th Test. When the all-rounder cracked Hasan Ali through mid-wicket for four, taking his score from 70 to 74, Green’s average went to 38.38.

Now, Green has made 619 runs at 36.41.

Throw in 15 wickets at 29.26 and the future could not look brighter for Green, who is averaging 54.3 since the second innings of the SCG Test in January.

Despite being a slow starter, Green has not scored fewer than 28 in his past six innings.

The Lahore pitch may be holding up better than expected, but Carey and Green shifted momentum Australia’s way at a critical moment in the match, even if Pakistan might argue honours belonged to them.

Carey spoke before the Test about why his 93 in Karachi had motivated him even more to become the first Australian wicketkeeper since Brad Haddin in 2013 to bring up triple figures.

After a summer of starts with the bat, Carey has proven to selectors and the Australian public that he has the temperament to succeed at Test level.

Cummins made the early breakthrough for the visitors in their must-win match, but there was little joy on another uneventful and long afternoon.

With three days remaining, a draw is the most likely outcome and should the series finish at 0-0, the criticism will come thick and fast.

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