'Quality player' Green one part of the jigsaw puzzle Australia have been missing

With his return, Australia for the first time in the series can at least look to balance the side however they wish

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
The last time Cameron Green picked up a bat in India it helped him become the second-most expensive player in IPL history.
His value to Australia's Test side has been made abundantly clear during the first two Tests of this series where the selectors have had to make concessions each way in his absence. Now the allrounder is back and Australia can for the first time, even in the absence of some senior players, at least look to balance the side however they wish in Indore.
Whether or not Steven Smith keeping every option open on the eve of the match was a bit of pre-game bluster, it highlighted the flexibility that a cricketer such as Green brings. That ranged from playing an extra batter - so Green being part of a four-strong attack - to three quicks or retaining the three spinners used in Delhi, but this time having two pace bowlers alongside them.
There remains a small question mark over Todd Murphy after the side soreness he reported during the second Test, although he had an extensive bowl on Tuesday.
"In terms of playing an extra batter, that's on the cards as well," Smith said. "Three spinners is on the cards, someone with a bit more airspeed is on the cards. We've got some options there, we'll wait and see."
The extra batter route would mean a reprieve for Matt Renshaw who has made just four runs in three innings so far after being parachuted in as David Warner's concussion sub in Delhi. The reference to airspeed could put Lance Morris in with a chance of a Test debut, although Scott Boland's wicket-to-wicket skills may also bring value. Australia's quicks have had precious little impact so far.
They also need to work out how to get through India's deep batting order and Smith hinted at some new plans. "Particularly with Green and [Mitchell] Starc, two fast bowlers now, and five out-and-out bowlers potentially, it gives us a few different ways to go about things," he said. "Whether we want to bowl some quick stuff at the tail to try and unsettle them or whether it's spinning, [we] just have to play what's in front of us."
The Indore pitch was only getting drier by the hour. The ends were already bare and now much of the grass has been shaved off. It was kept under covers for most of the day, occasionally being revealed by the groundstaff when players and staff from either side wandered over for a look.
At one point, there was a brief summit between Australia coach Andrew McDonald and tour selector Tony Dodemaide. A while later Green, along with a few team-mates, asked to have a look themselves with Green kneeling down to have a feel of the wicket's firmness.
Whatever way the selection cards fall, Green will likely need to recall his performance against Sri Lanka in Galle last year when he made 77 on the most spin-friendly pitch he had yet to encounter.
"He's a quality young player and just his all-round ability helps us in terms of the way we want to go about things with our XI," Smith said. "We saw him play exceptionally well in Galle. He did things a bit differently to how he's done things in the past. He brought the sweep out, he used his feet, he got deep in the crease. He did all the things that you need to do really well when the conditions were extreme."
Green's numbers are certainly the right way round for an emerging allrounder: the batting average sits at 35.04 and the bowling dipped to 29.78 when he claimed his maiden five-wicket in Melbourne, the day before the broken finger he is now returning from.
But expectations also need to be tempered. It is two months since his last competitive outing and there's only so much nets can do to bring a player up to speed for the type of Test cricket taking place in this series. Still, it's one part of the jigsaw puzzle Australia have been missing. And for Green, his India adventure really starts now.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo