Agar saves Australia on record-making debut
Teenage debutant Ashton Agar fell agonisingly short of becoming the first Test match No 11 to score a century but still helped give Australia the edge...
Teenage debutant Ashton Agar fell agonisingly short of becoming the first Test match No 11 to score a century but still helped give Australia the edge in their Ashes opener against England at Trent Bridge on Thursday. England, at stumps on Day Two, were at 80 for two wickets with Alastair Cook on 37 in the company of Kevin Pietersen on 35, with a lead of 15 runs.
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 No 11, surpassing Tino Best's 95 for the West Indies against England at Edgbaston last year.
Together with fellow left-hander Phil Hughes (81 not out), 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 Thursday 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 Thursday.
Brief Scores: England 215 & 80/2; Australia first innings 280 (Ashton Agar 98; Phillip Hughes 81; James Anderson 5/85)