Australia’s long search for a world-class allrounder appears over after Cameron Green further pushed his case for a Test debut with a century against the Indians.
On a day where Will Pucovski and Joe Burns’ much hyped bat-off flopped with five runs between them, Green led the way for Australia A at Sydney’s Drummoyne Oval.
Billed by Greg Chappell as the country’s best young talent since Ricky Ponting, allrounder Green finished day two 114 not out, with Australia A 8-286 in reply to the Indians’ 9(dec)-247.
Selectors appear almost certain to stick with their incumbent top six to start the summer, with Matt Wade to hold his spot.
But when the call eventually does come to go with an allrounder at No.6, Green showed on Monday he is ready.
The 21-year-old played gloriously through the offside and used his feet nicely against the spinners when he hit Ravichandra Ashwin over long-on for six.
He brought up his century after cover-driving the first delivery with second new ball from Umesh Yadav to the boundary.
It came after a manic five minutes when Michael Neser ran himself out the previous over, leaving Australia A eight down.
That prompted an injured Jackson Bird to limp to the changerooms to put the whites on in case he was required.
“We definitely didn’t want Cam to be stranded on 99 if Jacko could get out there and play a role,” coach Matthew Mott said.
“It was selfless of Jackson, he’s a good team player.”
Green’s innings wasn’t chanceless.
He should’ve been caught at second slip by Hanuma Vihari on 24 and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha grassed a tough one on 78.
But regardless, it marked his second century of the summer and his fifth in 20 first-class games as he appears destined to one day play Test cricket.
“What stood out the most was what a temperament he had, and his appetite to score runs” Mott said.
Australia have brought Mitch Marsh in and out of the side since Shane Watson’s last Test in 2015.
But Green has now leapfrogged Marsh and any other allrounder options.
On return from a back injury, Green also bowled with pace and bounce on day one in his eight overs that went for 0-9.
Green was also the only Australian to pass 50 on Monday, after Pucovski and Burns went for one and four respectively
Pucovski cut Yadav to point before Burns was caught behind two overs later trying to leave the same bowler, ending his run of back-to-back first-innings double centuries.
The pair could well open together in the first Test against India at the Adelaide Oval if David Warner does not recover from a groin injury in time.
If Warner is fit, selectors will be forced to choose between one of the pair, with Burns the front-runner to keep his spot despite passing 11 just once in six first-class innings this summer.
Marcus Harris also missed his chance at the top of the order, caught at slip trying to cut Ashwin (2-58) on 35.
Meanwhile, Bird is set to miss three weeks after suffering a calf strain bowling early on Monday morning.