Ashton Agar’s dream debut

Ashton agar


By Kersi Meher-Homji

Many wondered “Ashton Agar who?” on the opening day of the first Test between England and Australia at the Trent Bridge Test on 10 July.
Why risk an unknown 19 year-old left-arm spinner in an important Ashes Test match, many asked. As Australia’s spin attack is weak I thought why not give him a chance? He did not take a wicket and did not even look likely to grab one on the opening day.
Silly selectors, I grumbled. The next day I had to swallow my words as he became an international celebrity with his front page photos in every newspaper in Australia and England.
In reply to England’s 215, Australia was on her knees at 9-117, still 98 runs behind with all top batsmen apart from Phillip Hughes gone. And enters debutant Ashton Agar as the last man.
He received a benefit of doubt decision when given not out for stumping. What happened later on became a beautiful dream for Australia and a nightmare for England.
Agar batted brilliantly for 101 minutes scoring 98 runs with 12 fours and two sixes. With Hughes he added 163, a Test record for the last wicket.
Records tumbled in the 136 year history of Test cricket. It was the highest score by a number 11 batsman and that too by a debutant.
He missed his century by two runs but was philosophical about it. His parents and two brothers, present among the crowd, were ecstatic for his incredible 98, especially his mother of Sri Lankan origin. His innings will be remembered for a long, long time and soon will become a folk lore.
All throughout his innings he kept smiling; even when dismissed in his nervous 90s.
The next day he claimed the prized wicket of England’s captain Alastair Cook as his first Test victim.
For those interested in statistics, below are the highest scores by no. 11 batsmen in Tests:

Runs Batsman For Against Venue Series

98 Ashton Agar Aus Eng Trent Bridge 2013
95 Tino Best WI Eng Edgbaston 2012
75 Zaheer Khan Ind Bangla Dhaka 2004-05
68* Richard Collinge NZ Pak Auckland 1972-73
62* Bert Vogler SAf Eng Cape Town 1905-06
61 Glenn McGrath Aus NZ Brisbane 2004-05
60* Wasim Bari Pak WI Bridgetown 1976-77

*= not out

Agar is the only debutant in the above group.

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Posted by on Jul 13 2013. Filed under Featured, Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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