Aussie spinner Nathan Lyon has fervently backed Cameron Green as Australia's long-term No.4 amid the allrounder's struggles and even claimed he could replicate cricket great Jacques Kallis' role. Steve Smith and Green will resume day four out in the middle if weather stays away.
Smith remained unbeaten on 33 on Saturday with Green scoring nine runs as he entered the crease under the bright lights of the day-night Test. The host's will resume on 2-60, requiring another 156 to seal a 2-0 series win and a 5-0 summer sweep.
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While the Australia are favoured to get the win if the rain stays away, criticism has been levelled at Green since his return having not stood out since given the opportunity when Smith opted to open for the first time in his international career. Green made a maiden test century in India early last year.
However, since he has struggled with the bat only managing a top score of 38 in 11 Test knocks since. He was dropped for Mitchell Marsh during last year's Ashes, before coming back at No.4 when Smith moved up to replace David Warner.
His struggles have prompted Australian's to call an end to the experiment, which has seen Smith move up to accomodate Green. And while neither batter has impressed in their new role, Lyon has hit back at the doubt and touted Green as a potential superstar of Aussie cricket.
"I have had the challenge of bowling to Greeny in Shield cricket with him batting at No.4, and he has given me a lot of headaches," he said on Saturday. "I actually enjoy seeing him bat at number four and I feel like he could be the next Jacques Kallis of international cricket at number four."
This is huge praise from Lyon considering Kallis is considered as one of the best allrounders to ever play the game. The South African great averaged 55 with the bat having scored 13,289 runs. He also took 292 wickets.
Nathan Lyon slams Steve Smith critics
While Lyon was full of praise for Green, he was also quick to slap down Smith's critics. Smith is looking at his lowest top score for a summer in 13 years. Smith has hit just one half-century this summer, but has since struggled and his move to opener hasn't helped him find form.
There has been plenty of criticism since his move with cricket greats Mark Waugh and Michael Vaughan claiming a technical flaw is behind the veteran batter's struggles. However, Lyon has dismissed there is any issue with Smith moving up the order and has backed the greatest Test batter of his generation to find a way to score runs.
"I don't need to talk about Smithy, his numbers speak for themselves," Lyon said. "There has been no one worried about Smithy's form.
"We are talking about arguably the greatest player of the last decade and there is a lot of talk about his batting. I sit here and laugh because he is arguably the best problem solver I have ever played with."
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