Trent Bridge, 1st Ashes Test, Day 2
What a day. Resuming at 4/78 Steve Smith picked up where he left off the day before and brought up his fifty soon after. 7 balls later he was out. Then Haddin was out. Then Siddle was out. Then Starc was out. Then Pattinson was out. All the while Phil Hughes stood at the other end of the pitch watching the madness unfold as Jimmy and Swanny tore through the Aussie tail. 5.1 overs, 5 wickets, 9 runs and the Aussies facing a significant first innings deficit. Enter Ashton Agar. 19. On debut. Cool as a cucumber, seriously, he couldn’t have looked calmer if he’d tried. After nudging a few runs around he started to play shots, good shots, shots you don’t normally see from a number 11, let alone from a 19 year old number 11 on debut. Then the Poms brought Finn into the attack. That was fun. The runs started to accumulate. The deficit receded. Agar brought up his 50 off 50 balls marking the second fastest debut 50 by an Aussie bettered only by some Gilchrist fellow. But he and Phil weren’t done. The Poms lead disappeared, they’d lost the plot entirely, what was going on. The partnership grew, first past 100, then 150, topping out at a new world record mark of 163 – scored at 5.22 rpo if you don’t mind. Agar was getting closer and closer to the milestone no one saw coming. Stuart Broad – who earlier in the day didn’t seem to have any plans to bowl due to injury concerns – came on and not satisfied with just leaking runs, decided that he’d be the one to spoil the party. Agar got a couple of shorter balls while ‘stuck’ in the 90’s in the end he took a swipe at one, and hit it well enough, unfortunately Swann was perched right where he’d hit it, tragically falling just 2 runs shy of the ton. But let’s not dwell on that, 98 off 101 is an ashton-ishing debut effort and was simply brilliant to watch. Most importantly though, it wouldn’t have been possible without Phil Hughes who patiently hung around, compiling runs of his own to finish 81*. Somehow the Aussies had managed a 65 run lead, after being 9/117. Amazing. There was time enough for a few overs prior to the tea break, and while the Poms were busy not scoring any runs, Mitchell Starc struck taking two wicket in two balls to leave the Poms at 2/11 and with something to think about over tea. He missed the hat trick, for the second time in two days, and Cook and Pietersen spent the rest of the final sessions very slowly building up some runs finishing 2/80 and leading by just 15. I shall not speak of DRS and how it may or may not have changed the days miraculous events.