Agar Heroics Bring
Test To Life
Match Report | 11th July 2013
Ashton Agar made history with the highest score by a No.11 when he smashed 98 in an up and down day of cricket.
A total of eight wickets fell throughout the day as the game remained in the balance but continued to canter towards a result.
Early on, Steve Smith became the first batsmen to reach 50 in the match after continuing his attacking style of the night before. However his wicket provided England with the platform to kick on and put the Aussies firmly on the back foot.
James Anderson removed Smith before Graeme Swann showed the turn that the pitch will provide later on. He produced the perfect off-spinners dismissal of Brad Haddin, the ball turning from outside off to bowl the batsman in between bat and pad by clipping the top of off stump.
Anderson continued the stream of wickets with Peter Siddle (1) and Mitchell Starc (0) perishing in quick succession. Those wickets took the Lancashire-seamer to his five-wicket haul and also made him the leading-wicket taker in Test Matches at Trent Bridge.
When Swann removed James Pattinson soon after it looked like England would have a comfortable first innings lead especially after a run of five wickets in just 32 balls.
However, the 19-year-old debutant had other ideas. Agar came to the crease on 117-9 but didn’t let that phase him playing some extraordinary shots not usually associated with a batsman situated as low down in the order.
Lunch came and went but Agar kept on punishing the England bowlers, senior batsman Phillip Hughes playing the supporting role for most of the partnership. Their stand of 163 was already the highest for the 10th-wicket before the chance for a special debut hundred came along.
It wasn’t to be as Stuart Broad, who had recovered from a blow to the shoulder, had him caught in the deep by Nottinghamshire teammate Swann to end a fine innings just two short of what would have been a memorable century.
At the end of the innings, Australia held a 65-run lead on first innings scores, one which had not been possible if Agar and Hughes (81*) had not produced their sublime stroke play.
With the travelling support in full voice Australia were on a high and they continued their momentum into the early part of England’s second innings. Tight bowling had the hosts on the back foot and on the stroke of tea; Mitchell Starc dented England’s hopes further.
Root was unlucky to get a fine edge down the leg side before Jonathan Trott looked bemused to be given out LBW on review despite evidence of an inside edge. England went into tea on 11-2 still trailing by 54 and staring down the barrel of a tough final session.
However, in keeping with the up and down nature of the match, England fought back. Alastair Cook (37*) and Kevin Pietersen (34*), whilst not in full flow, reduced the deficit with every passing over. Eventually in the 32nd over, England were back into the lead and that was extended to 15 by the close of play. Despite it taking 43 overs to amass 80-2, Cook’s men will be happy with their efforts as the match continues to twist and turn.