As they closed in on a target of 233, either side of a brief rain delay, it looked like Green could seize up any second. With runners no longer permitted in international cricket, the boundary swatted by Zampa off Mitchell Santner in the 45th over and the wide that sealed the game were welcome assists.
“Definitely,” Green said when asked at the post-match presentation whether he doubted being able to continue. “Couldn’t really walk for a [second] there. Groin, calf, hamstring and forearms. The whole lot was going.”
It was the latest in a line of landmark performances since the start of last season in what remains a young international career: Test wickets coming his way after a dry start; emerging from some technical issues against England; scoring runs against reverse swing in Pakistan and spin in Sri Lanka; and a maiden ODI five-wicket haul last week in Townsville.
And now, having marshaled an ODI chase, Green is already looking like Australia’s fulcrum going into next year’s World Cup.
“We knew we were in a bit of trouble but we also knew there was a lot of time left in the game,” Carey, who shared the crucial 158-run stand with Green, said. “We enjoy batting together, we work really well. He scores pretty freely at the other end and we just bounce off each other nicely.
“You saw today 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.”
However, New Zealand may have made a tactical error in not giving Boult one more over in his opening spell which ended after five with Australia 38 for 4. He did not return until the 29th over, by which time Carey and Green had established their partnership.
Carey could see both sides of the decision although did say “in hindsight” perhaps he could have been given another over.
Boult himself indicated he would have been keen to continue. “I thought of having a sixth, and maybe a seventh or eighth,” he said with a smile. “Not too sure what the thinking was there. But they batted a long way down, think Maxwell at eight is a naughty batting order and we knew they would bat deep. Presume that was the thinking, but credit to the way they stuck at it and got the game done. Good game, but disappointed to be on the wrong side of it.”