Ashton Agar’s record-breaking Test debut will give Englishmen nightmares for years to come, but was just a “dream come true” for the Australian teenager.
Agar recalled at Trent Bridge, after making the highest score by any No 11 in Test history and falling only an agonising two runs short of a century, how he chose cricket over Aussie Rules football because he got fed-up of being “the little fat kid ... getting smashed around”.
It is a decision he will surely never regret, because he was the one doing all the smashing yesterday as he shared a world-record last-wicket stand with Phil Hughes (81no) to help Australia recover from 117 for nine to 280 all out.
“It’s a dream come true. Forever, I’ve dreamt of playing Test cricket for Australia,” said the 19-year-old, having carried his team into a first-innings lead of 65 before England closed day two of this summer’s Ashes on 80 for two.
“For my debut to start the way it has, I’m over the moon.”
Agar, watched in the Nottingham crowd by his parents John and Sonia and brothers William and Wesley, played more like a Test No five than 11 in an innings full of assured strokeplay and containing 12 fours and two sixes.
He thanked Australia coach Darren Lehmann, and his batting partner Hughes for helping him produce his best when his country needed it so badly.
Agar said: “Darren Lehman just told me to bat the way I know how to bat. He’s told the whole team to back their own natural styles.
“I was lucky to have a really good partner at the other end. Phil Hughes is a seriously, seriously good player and really helped me through it.”
Agar missed out on a maiden first-class hundred when he pulled Stuart Broad to Graeme Swann at deep midwicket.
He said: “Obviously, it’s a dream to make a Test match hundred. But I didn’t really dream I was going to make 98 on debut, so I’m very, very happy. I hope we’ve helped put the team in a winning position. If we can get through them tomorrow, I think we can win.”
Agar’s innings would have ended much earlier, had third umpire Marais Erasmus given him out stumped for only six — a very marginal call which could easily have gone England’s way.
However, nothing was going to spoil Agar’s day: “Cricket was always my number one. I did play a bit of junior ’footy’ — but everyone grew a lot quicker than me. I was just the little fat kid getting smashed around, so I thought I’d give that a break.”
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