NOTTINGHAM: Teenage debutant Ashton Agar fell agonisingly short of becoming the first Test match number 11 to score a century, but still helped give Australia the edge in their Ashes opener against England at Trent Bridge yesterday.
England, at tea on the second day of the first Test, were 11 for two in their second-innings, with Mitchell Starc on a hat-trick after removing Joe Root and Jonathan Trott with successive deliveries.
Earlier, it seemed England would have a commanding first-innings lead as Australia collapsed to 117 for nine in reply to the Ashes-holders’ first innings 215.
But 19-year-old Agar went on to make 98 — the highest score by any Test number 11, surpassing Tino Best’s 95 for the West Indies against England at Edgbaston last year.
Together with fellow left-hander Phil Hughes (81*), Agar shared a Test record 10th wicket partnership of 163.
This topped the previous last wicket record stand of 151 shared jointly by Brian Hastings and Richard Collinge for New Zealand against Pakistan at Auckland in 1972/73 and Azhar Mahmood and Mushtaq Ahmed for Pakistan against South Africa at Rawalpindi in 1997/98.
Australia resumed Thursday on 75 for four, a deficit of 140 runs, after an overcast first day where seamer Peter Siddle rocked England with five for 50.
But yesterday saw sunshine and blue skies which promised better batting conditions for Steven Smith, 38 not out overnight, and Hughes.
James Anderson, who on Wednesday had gone past England fast bowling great Fred Trueman’s record of 307 Test wickets, made the breakthrough.
Smith, driving loosely at Anderson, was caught behind by wicket-keeper Matt Prior for 53.
This was the start of an Australia collapse that saw five wickets lost for nine runs.
Agar then cashed in with shots worthy of a top-order batsman.
But, in sight of a century, Agar pulled Stuart Broad to Swann at deep midwicket to end a two-and-quarter hour innings of 101 balls including 12 fours and two sixes.
Anderson starred for England with five for 70, his 14th haul of five or more wickets in an innings in 83 Tests.
England then saw Root caught by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and next ball Trott was given not out by Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar after a raucous Starc lbw appeal. The decision was reviewed and Trott was given out.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2013.
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