Ben plays key role with bat and ball on day 1 of Youth Test against Australia

Ben GreenSomerset Academy all-rounder Ben Green staged a valiant rearguard action with the bat as England U19s collapsed in the Youth Test against Australia U19s overnight.

Exeter-born Green then picked up a wicket in his opening over, a maiden, when Australia batted at the end of the day at the famous WACA ground in Perth.

Shortly after coming out to bat in England’s first innings, Green found himself batting with the tailenders, with England seven down and only 122 on the board. Showing great maturity, the 17-year-old made sure he stayed with the tail and took as much of the strike as possible. In all, he faced 91 balls and hit an unbeaten 23 with two boundaries to take his country to 172 by the time the last man was out.

Earlier Ryan Davies (61) and Aaron Thomason (40) arrested England’s top order collapse, which saw them lose five wickets for just 32 runs inside 19 overs. But when their sixth-wicket partnership of 84 was broken, both men fell in the space of two overs, leaving Green with only the tail for company.

When they batted, Australia lost an early wicket with only 1 run on the board. They had advanced to 44-1 in the 13th over, when Green struck in his first over, having Australian U19 captain Jaron Morgan caught behind for 19.

Australia eventually closed day 1 of this four-day Test on 103-3 after 32 overs, trailing by 69, with opener Sam Heazlett unbeaten on 68. Green ended the day with very respectable figures of 5-2-10-1.

Ben Green Exeter tweetWhile he lamented the early loss of wickets, former Somerset coach Andy Hurry, now head of the England Development Programme, said: “It was important that we started well and with the new ball, Saqib Mahmood set the tone making an early breakthrough in the first over.

“We built pressure with a disciplined bowling display and throughout the remainder of the day’s play we created opportunities.  Having been behind in the game, the whole team responded and showed excellent resilience to place the Australian top-order under pressure.

“The first hour tomorrow is crucial to influencing the result of this game and it is imperative that we take the learning from our first innings batting to give ourselves the best chance to gain a winning result.

“The game has progressed at a rapid pace and the key for us moving forward is to gain control of the game.”

After this Test, England U19s will play five one-day internationals, with the first on April 13 and the last on April 23.

Ben Green ECB tweetOur verdict: Ben has done extremely well to make the final XI for this one-off, prestigious Youth Test as one of the youngest members of the squad. There are only two from his age group in the tour party.

The 17-year-old all-rounder came up through the Devon youth system before joining the Somerset Academy and making his debut for the Second XI last season when he claimed 3 for 18 in a match against Gloucestershire.

Ben also featured in England’s warm-up draw against a Western Australia XI at Murdoch University last week, picking up a wicket and earning praise from Andy Hurry.

There is a lot of cricket still to be played in this match, but Ben has already played a key role on day one and can be very proud of his efforts. We look forward to following his progress over the next three days.

Reaction: Afterwards a clearly delighted Ben told the official Somerset CCC website: “After choosing to bat first unfortunately we didn’t get as many runs as we would have liked.

“However we came back strongly and had a good session after tea and bowled with good energy.

“When I batted we were in a tricky situation so I was just trying to bat for as long as possible that’s why I faced as many balls as I did, but its what was needed at the time. Then I thought I bowled quite well, maybe just a bit short and I got a wicket, so overall I am pretty pleased with how things went for me personally.”

Reflecting on how things have gone so far for him on the tour Ben said: “I am enjoying the tour very much and training has gone well which has all been focused towards this Test Match.”

He added: “The squad was only announced at 9.30pm on April 4th so I spent the day wondering if I would be included and when I heard I was really chuffed.”

Steve Snell the Somerset Academy Director said: “I am delighted for him and his family that he has got the chance to play. He is two years younger than some of the others so it could have been thought that he was going there for the experience, so full credit to him that he has got himself into the team.

“I know he bowled well in the warm-up games and what a great opportunity this is for him to play in a Test Match against Australia at the WACA so I’m delighted for him.”

Scorecard: Australia Under-19s v England Under-19s: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/834171.html

Ben Green day 1 tweet