Mark Nicholas
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Former Hampshire batsman; host of Channel 9's cricket coverage

England v Australia, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge, 5th day

World changes for Ashton and Australia

Ashton Agar strode out on debut at No. 11 with his team reeling and transformed the series in just over an hour of batting

Mark Nicholas at Trent Bridge

July 14, 2013

Comments: 45 | Text size: A | A

Ashton Agar clips through the leg side during his half-century, England v Australia, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge, 2nd day, July 11, 2013
Ashton Agar's innings gave Australia belief and brought the series alive © PA Photos
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In one hour at Trent Bridge on Thursday morning, the world changed. Or, if that is an exaggeration, the world of cricket in which we all revolve shifted on its axis a little. It was midday when Ashton Agar came to crease, his team reeling from a scoreboard that read 117 for 9. The witches who had stirred their pot to predict 10-0 in the coming months looked on with sadistic anticipation.

By 1pm, the pre-written storyboards were in the bin. There was a new tale to tell: the tale of a 19-year-old Australian, born in Melbourne to a Sinhalese mother, slaying Goliath. Unheard of, unseen and unbelievable - Ashton took us to Disneyland.

Because Australia were nine wickets down, lunch was delayed by half an hour - a new wheeze from the ICC that took us all by surprise - and so the fantasy continued: dazzling cuts, pulls and drives that smashed record after record along the way. From that point on the match, and the series, was alive.

Australia needed something, or someone, like this. Not just the blokes here at Trent Bridge but the blokes and the Sheilas back home. It is a proud land and requires its sporting heroes to front up. That Agar looked good was okay, that he played good was magic.

Inspired, the Channel Nine viewing figures have gone through the roof and the network are comfortable that their cricket gamble will pay off. Kerry Packer's erstwhile channel spent handsomely for the rights a month or so back. Had Brad Haddin and James Pattinson managed 15 more runs on Sunday, the celebrations at Nine HQ would have matched those at Cricket Australia, where the rehab of the team is on everyone's lips.

The fact is that Australia loves and cares about cricket. The folk at the Nottingham hotel told stories of friends and family sitting up through the night and of expats glued to their 50-inch screens in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and the like. They said that Nine was cricket's home in Oz and that Michael Clarke was winning friends that he never thought he would have.

Clarke gave a marvellous interview at the post-match presentation, as did Alastair Cook - both men relieved but for very different reasons. Cook directed a team that conceded 228 runs in the match to the Australian tenth wicket. That is bad karma. Had it led to defeat, the nights ahead would have been long. Clarke saw his team go to the wire without a significant contribution of his own. And he saw Agar put out a marker. There you go boys, he might be saying, a kid from the west got under England's skin. It is not just me, it is him, and it is also you who can resist them. Play the ball, not the man, and enjoy it for what it is, an upscale game of cricket.

Having said that, it was an especially hard match: a match that needed patience and clear thinking. The umpiring and decision review moments threatened to overwhelm the cricket itself but, though the DRS had the final say, the tension and thrills created by the players won through.

It is too simplistic to say that the DRS should be taken out of the hands of the players and left to the umpires. The principle is strong enough but the reality is that no on-field umpire will risk a decision without referring it to his mate indoors, who has the considerable advantage of television replays at his fingertips. Why would he?

 
 
Even in defeat, the Australians are in a better place than they could have dared hope at midday on Thursday
 

Morality, what remains of it, would be replaced by technology as the minutiae of the game. Every decision will go upstairs; it will have to. And when it does, the technology will be proved almost as fallible as the umpire. Ask Jonathan Trott. What's more, all decisions will take forever and the game's natural rhythm will be lost.

The DRS is not a mile away from fulfilling its responsibility. Maybe the teams should be allowed one option rather than two, and that way they can pretty much forget about it until they know they have been wronged.

To satisfy the moments that are obvious enough after the event, allow the third umpire to intervene when it is immediately clear to him that a serious mistake has been made. In other words, give both player and third umpire a piece of the pie but leave the fellows on the field to do their job up until the point of extreme misjudgement.

Finally on this subject, the ICC must take responsibility for decision-making technology. The broadcaster is providing for its audience not for the administration of the game. Over these past five days we have been reminded just how emotionally charged cricket has become, particularly in Ashes cricket, and we would see it too if India were to play Pakistan.

The crowd is wound up by the daily anthems and, mostly, the players wear their hearts for all to see. They are under the glare of a demanding audience in a game needing to hold its place in a changing world order. The ICC can help by ensuring that the manageable controversies are kept to a minimum.

For all that, and even in defeat, the Australians are in a better place than they could have dared hope at midday on Thursday. Though Clarke would not have it, they are also in a better place than before the series began. They have seen that England are vulnerable and that the theatre of the Ashes is as challenging for old hands as for new.

The brilliant selection of Agar should now be matched by a volte face on David Warner. If he is at Heathrow, heading for an Australia A game in Zimbabwe, send a taxi to bring him back. Warner has talent - with bat, ball and in the field - and attitude. Channel that attitude to the cricket at Lord's; it is a stage that might make him. There is no time for Australia to waste.

Mark Nicholas, the former Hampshire captain, presents the cricket on Channel 9 in Australia and Channel 5 in the UK

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Posted by Jagger on (July 17, 2013, 12:33 GMT)

Australia take all the positives from the first match. England have lost the advantage.

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 16, 2013, 9:58 GMT)

@Aidan Taylor I didn't say Agar's innings was of less importance though, did I? I'm saying that without Haddin's knock, which was under far more pressure, they'd have lost by a bigger margin. Agar came out with zero expectation, was probably out for 6 (and lots of Aussie fans have agreed with that) and played with a lot of freedom.

It was wonderful to see, and as a spectator it was probably the most enjoyable bit of the Test match, even though I'm an England fan and knew it was hurting us. But Haddin's knock was a better one, in my view, because it was under pressure. If you don't think so then why did so many call Bell's hundred his best? It wasn't the runs he scored (he's got several bigger scores than that) or the shots he played (it was not a particularly pretty innings). It was the pressure he played under.

For Haddin it must have been torture as the target got closer and closer. Do I play another big shot? Do I just look for singles and trust Pattinson (who can bat)?

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 9:08 GMT)

@H_Z_O - I think you might have your binoculars the wrong way round. Without Agar's superb 1st innings performance, Australia would have needed 98 more runs more to win. Agar's achievement is precisely what gave Brad Haddin (and James Pattinson) the chance to get as close as they did, both numerically and psychologically. Agar's innings was of huge importance.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 9:00 GMT)

The magic of Agar is in the mix of the two gene pools. The way he came to bat, there was no lack of stability and he was sure footed, knew when and where to hit the ball. He looked absolutely at ease in the middle. Time will tell how he will prosper

Posted by Nuwan_R on (July 16, 2013, 4:33 GMT)

Agar certainly has a cricketing pedigree. His grandfather is a bit of a cricketing legend in our school in Sri Lanka. I've heard that the trophy for the annual big match played between Trinity College (Kumar Sangakkara's school) and Dharamaraja college is named after his grandfather.

Posted by SamRoy on (July 16, 2013, 3:20 GMT)

@salazar555 Ok fine. It tells me you don't understand cricket. He bats like Brian Lara and Yuvraj Singh and times the ball nearly as well as them. And you think he can "swing" the bat. He normally bowls with more side spin but because of injury was bowling with over-spin did pretty well even with that. His bowling is far from the finished article but if he is as successful as Vettori as an all-rounder in 10 years time admit that you made a mistake judging talent.

Posted by Clyde on (July 15, 2013, 23:56 GMT)

Warner rarely knuckles down to the task. The game is not going to adapt to him. Praising him doesn't help. If I could see him bat for an hour and not score a run I might have more faith in him. I would not like him in my team the way he is because, contrary to his image, he is too fragile.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2013, 21:02 GMT)

I'm not a big fan of Cowan and I think that he has had ample chances to prove himself while Khawaja has been waiting on the sidelines. In fairness to Cowan, though, he was ill for much of that game.

I'm undecided about whether Cowan deserves another chance but with Warner short on match practice and unimpressive in the lead-up to the Ashes anyway, I'm not nearly so sure that he (Warner) should make a u-turn from Heathrow.

Posted by RohanMarkJay on (July 15, 2013, 17:08 GMT)

While everyone is singing the praises of Agar. Rightly so. Everyone has forgotten Phil Hughes great knock in support of Agar. Surely after that last wicket pairing. Phil Hughes and Ashton Agar have justified themselves from now on as permanent fixtures in the Australian team with the Aussie selectors. I think Australia finally has about 6 or 7 permanent guys that could make a pretty good Ozzie team for the future. Certainly will never reach the 1990s Mcgrath Warne era, but the talent is there for a pretty good Aus side for the near future. If the selectors choose wisely. Certainly Phil Hughes and Ashton Agar have justified there spots form permitting for the next five years.

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 15, 2013, 16:40 GMT)

@Stuart_online Jimmy's 10-for won the match. If you think that'll be forgotten, you are sadly mistaken. Agar's knock was excellent, but it was ultimately in vain. It was Haddin's second innings knock that gave them a shout, and unlike Agar, he couldn't just play his shots without fear because there was an expectation on him. If Agar'd gotten out for 6 in the first innings, would anyone have criticised him? No.

Not knocking the kid, he played magnificently, but it's a lot easier to do when there isn't the pressure on you that, say Haddin had. If he'd gotten out playing a big shot across the line earlier in his innings, people would have pilloried Haddin and called for Wade to come back. Likewise if Bell had gotten out for a pretty 30 or 40 after a period in which his form has been awful. If that had continued he might have been dropped (we saw what happened to Compton).

Agar's a great story, and I hope it's the start of a great career, but let's not blow it out of all proportion.

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 15, 2013, 16:31 GMT)

@Mutukisna Wouldn't necessarily have affected the Broad edge. We keep assuming Dar wasn't sure, but maybe he was? Maybe he was certain Broad hadn't nicked it?

While in theory the idea of the third umpire having complete control of reviews is a good one, it would result in a lot more inconsistency. It would depend on whether a third umpire noticed anything "fishy" about a decision. Sure, a blatant howler might be caught, but what about something like the Bell lbw? The ball would have missed the stumps by a decent margin. That would have cost England 70 runs.

The simplest solution is a lot simpler than the ones put forward by a lot of people. First, captains need to stop reviewing things like the Bairstow lbw. That was going to miss the stumps by a long way. Second, "clipping" lbws need to be consistent. It should either be out, or not-out, same for everyone. Third, "clipping" lbws shouldn't cost a review. The limit is to prevent frivolous reviews; those aren't frivolous.

Posted by Stuart_online on (July 15, 2013, 14:17 GMT)

How can Agar not have received the player of the match award ? In over 2000 tests there must have been at least 5000 previous innings by number 11s, and the same number of tenth wicket partnerships, and he outshone them all. Even though it was ultimately a losing cause, he rescued not just Australia but the entire match from acute embarrassment, with the second innings at 117/9 after 3 and a half sessions, along the way helping to set up a wonderful series opener. Which performance will spectators still be saying "I was there" for in 20 years time ? Jimmy's 10-for ? Bell's determined hundred ? Or the world record last-wicket stand ? And don't forget that despite his 10-for, Jimmy also helped to concede 228 for the combined AUS 10th wicket partnerships.

Posted by Mutukisna on (July 15, 2013, 14:04 GMT)

An excellent article, Mr Nicholas. Why are some of these contributors attempting to write off what is a special talent? A 19 year old who walked in to bat showing no signs of nerves, whose father advised him correctly to play without fear and with freedom and who attended De La Salle College (a Christian brother's academy where pupils are taught to give of their best and "promptly to rally at duty's call"). He did not let his fellow Christian Brothers alumni the world over down by any means. In fact he has done them proud! His spinning talents can only improve with age (in fact his wicket tally should have been at least three) bearing in mind that even the experienced Swann could not do any better on that wicket. I look forward to his continued appearances as an Australian international cricketer, even though I for one am not an Australian fan.

Posted by wibblewibble on (July 15, 2013, 13:47 GMT)

@Nigel Hales the run penalty could be made compound or exponential in order to increase the cost to a point where that could not happen. Eg, 1 "free" incorrect review, the next one costs 5 runs, the next one 15, the next one 30.

Posted by Mutukisna on (July 15, 2013, 13:28 GMT)

Following the controversy at the Test, there is a school of thought that DRS reviews should be unlimited. But this will result in a lot of time wastage with the likelihood of the game being overwhelmed with reviews. We need the game to flow!

My suggestion is that in addition to the two reviews per innings per team, each umpire is allowed one review per innings and that this could only be used if two conditions are met. a) One team's reviews have been exhausted and b) if the umpire himself is unsure of the decision he is being asked to make at that juncture. After all we want all decisions to be as accurate as possible and any proposal to minimise the error factor in the game should be welcomed and adopted.

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 15, 2013, 13:03 GMT)

@Mitty2 I'd have Warner in at 3 with Hughes at 4, personally. I was really surprised Clarke batted 4, even after the warm-ups suggested he might. Just don't think it's a position that suits his strengths (better against spin, tentative outside off to swing or seam movement). I got the impression that Cowan's looseness was because he's been told to play that way by Lehmann, who wants your batsmen to take us on. The fact David Lloyd said he watched Khawaja in the nets and every shot he played was an attacking shot, suggests it's definitely a plan. That's Warner's game. Hughes can play spin, he showed that in the first innings, but struggles starting against it (saw that in the second and in India). At 4 there's a chance he'll start against spin, but it has to be less than at 6.

Disagree about Agar's bowling to Bell, though. Barely troubled him. Looked a better bowler to the lefties, but that could be because his spinning finger was cut. Bowled with a lot more overspin than sidespin.

Posted by BnH1985Fan on (July 15, 2013, 12:03 GMT)

I can't see a future for Agar in this team unless he starts taking wickets. Granted he did better than most batsmen in the test, which is not really saying much given how Australian batsmen struggled. But can Australia take a chance on Agar as an all rounder going ahead? Agar really needs to do his day job better -- take wickets for his team as a spinner. Otherwise, it's adios!

Posted by   on (July 15, 2013, 11:33 GMT)

A runs penalty is not the answer for the DRS. At five runs a pop, a team that has a big lead on the first innings will challenge and challenge until they get one right, just to disrupt the batsman's concentration and flow, and it will bore everyone to tears. It should be taken out of the hands of the players altogether and given to the third umpire solely. The on field umpires should not be given the opportunity for a referral otherwise they will use it all the time. They must make decisions (even on run outs), and the third umpire have the ability to review and reverse the decision if it appears to be a clear error (not a marginal one).

Posted by CricketMaan on (July 15, 2013, 11:24 GMT)

Will Agar's innings inspire or the loss by 15 runs haunt. Only time will tell. The difference between the teams is not just in bowling, but some one in the English side is very capable of a defining 100, the same cannot be said about Aus other than Pup. Also, the No.3 postion for England is lot secured that Cowan at 3. Hughes had one good innings down the order, but he is picked to play in top 3. If Cowan sits out then Khawaja down the order could be an option unless Warner can go to SA and get a 200 and be back by Thursday. Harris over Starc is tempting though the latter brings variety. Agar for now has outshined Lyon, but at some point Lyon will have a say. For now England will start a lot more confident, unless Jimmy is limping!

Posted by wibblewibble on (July 15, 2013, 9:34 GMT)

DRS is easy to sort out - the problem is that every team must have the opportunity to use a referral whenever they feel like, balanced against the time taken to have/use that review.

The solution is straightforward - give each team a number of reviews (3,2,1 - the number does not matter). These are 'free' reviews. Once those are gone, if a team wants to review again, they can still do so, only this time if they are wrong, the other team are awarded 5 runs. If a bowling side review incorrectly with no reviews left, the runs are added to extras in that innings, if a batting side review incorrectly with no reviews left, it's added to extras in the other teams innings.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2013, 9:20 GMT)

Wow some harsh critics of a 19 year old making his debut - He didnt really fail in the 2nd innings he came in when England where all over Australia and had just dismissed 3 front line batters in the space of 18 balls yet he blunted them for 2 hrs before he was dismissed by a pretty decent delivery! oh and he bowled pretty well to - should of had at least 3 wickets which all in all is one much better debut than a certain Shane Warne had so why criticize the poor kid after one match? at least he's living his dream! I wonder how many of his armchair critics can say they're living their dreams?

Posted by   on (July 15, 2013, 9:02 GMT)

Australia may bat all the way down, but unfortunately they don't bat all the way up. There is one too many left handers in the top order. Cowan, Rogers, Hughes, Warner and Khawaja are all occasionally good players (none average in the 50s, although mid 40s would be reasonable). Watson must open if he is in the side, since he rarely makes runs anywhere else. Similarly, Clarke must bat at 5. Voges should have front running for the number 4 spot, he actually bats there and can play spin. Rogers 50 will keep him in the side along with Hughes and Smith, which puts Cowan under the microscope.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2013, 6:31 GMT)

I too would bring in Warner, in fact I would have had him playing in this match and said as much during the last warm up. I want match winners and all round cricketers representing us, not snickers and grinders that can't field or roll their arm over when called upon. Our bowlers can all bat and our batsmen should all be brilliant in the field at the very least. We are getting there but seem to be taking the scenic route.

Agar is a tremendous inclusion and all credit for that must go to Inverarity. He was the one who bought him into the squad initially and also picked him up as an addition to the ashes party, credit where it is due. Fawad who?

Posted by joking44 on (July 15, 2013, 5:29 GMT)

Don't know about those guys in Kuala LumpAr, but those of us who live in Kuala LumpUr were certainly glued in. :)

Posted by funkybluesman on (July 15, 2013, 5:10 GMT)

Warner should be in for Cowan, not Hughes. Cowan has had plenty of time in the team now yet averages less than three of the four bowlers. Warner, on the other hand, while well behind Clarke in career average, is still by far the best of the rest in terms of his overall record. He is the sort of batsman who, if he gets a start, can go on and make big scores. Cowan has never looked likely to do that.

If they will not bring Warner back, then it has to mean Khawaja gets a chance. I've never been convinced by him though, he always looks scratchy at the crease and seems well able to scratch his way to 20-30 runs consistently, but never looked likely to do much beyond that. The suggestion is he's improved his game in Qld under Darren Lehmann, so maybe he has a chance. But Warner really needs to be in the team.

Posted by Alexk400 on (July 15, 2013, 4:54 GMT)

Agar can be next dhoni style lucky player and win games for australia

Posted by funkybluesman on (July 15, 2013, 4:43 GMT)

Actually, Agar looks like he could be a very good bowler. In the first innings he barely bowled as the fast bowlers were doing well, and in the second he got as many wickets as Swann, from fewer overs, and should have had at least one more (with Broad caught at slip).

I actually think Clarke needed to use him a bit more. In the third and fourth innings you expect to see the spinner having bowled a lot more overs than the pace bowlers, but Ashton was about the same as them. He didn't get the long spells that spinners generally like which I think would have helped him even more.

Probably Clarke trying to not put too much pressure on him, but the standard late test match method of bowling him in long spells at one end while the quicks rotated at the other would have been good for him I think.

Posted by Mitty2 on (July 15, 2013, 4:06 GMT)

@yasserrizwan, you want to get rid of the bloke who, against the odds, against the critics, put us back into the match with what many are calling a career defying innings?? Let alone omit him for a bloke who has no form, brings controversy and off-field antics, and tries to punch the opposition...? I'd love Warner at 6 if he performs in the A games, and if he does, why would he come in for Hughes over Cowan?

@salazar555, agree re the hype can spell disaster, but he is far from a 'very average bowler', he got Broad out twice, and bowled well but unluckily to Bell, if Dar wasn't blind in fact, he would've had better figures than swan, oh and his on debut! Pfft. And on his batting, he did it under immense pressure and gave away just one chance. I scarcely remember an edge or play or miss.

Great article Mark, agree with everything except the point about Warner. He does things like that, he should be as far away from the squad as possible.

Posted by Sinhabahu on (July 15, 2013, 4:03 GMT)

Watching Agar bat made me think, "This lad does have some Sinha Ley ("lion's blood" in Sinhalese) in him." Hope this is not just a one-off and that he continues to prosper. What an exciting prospect!

Posted by mike_b on (July 15, 2013, 3:24 GMT)

What a silly comment salazar555.Agar's not an average bowler at all.To be that far along the spin bowling path at his age is amazing.Swann is 16 years further along & certainly didn't rip through Aust on a wicket that was doctored & dished up for him!How was Swann at 19?In days of Warne,sure he wouldn't be playing tests but the fact is he averaged over 100 for the game with the bat, took a couple of handy wickets (including Cook-one of the present greats)&was ripped off on another crucial,match-changing wicket(Broad)by a bad decision.He more than repaid the faith shown in him.The great thing he showed,above all else,was the "ticker"for test match cricket,which is rare enough let alone in someone so young.This is a rare quality & good on Lehmann for recognising it.Sure Agar has much to learn still but have the grace to rejoice in the sheer joy of seeing a kid achieve something wonderful.If it were that easy to do(young,no pressure etc)why haven't 19 year olds been doing it every match?

Posted by landl47 on (July 15, 2013, 3:23 GMT)

Agar's first innings was brilliant and thrilling- one of the most exciting I have seen in test cricket. However, I would suggest that his second innings was closer to where he is in career terms; a useful player who still has a lot to learn. His technical flaws will be studied and plans hatched to work on his weaknesses. He may go on to become a great all-rounder, but he's not that yet.

As for the DRS, I still believe that leaving it to the umpires is the way to go. The problem with the author's solution is, what is a 'serious mistake'? Haddin was adjudged not out, but technology revealed he had got a faint edge. Is that a serious mistake? It would have had serious consequences if the original decision had been allowed to stand. And are the terms of reference different for the 3rd umpire if the players review than if he does it on his own?

Leave it to the umpires and tell the players to be ready to resume the moment the decision is given, not standing in a group waiting.

Posted by Jeremy303 on (July 15, 2013, 1:57 GMT)

I agree with salazar555 to a certain extent. Agar had little internal pressure going into that first innings dig. Yes the team was in dire straits, but he was at no.11 and I'm sure he would have been thinking that adding as many runs to the total as possible was the goal. In the second innings, he looked like he was caged up. The bowling was tight and he came in towards the end of the days play just after a collapse. He survived the day. When they resumed play on the 5th day, Agar still looked bottled up and Haddin was also quite reserved - in part to avoid England from gaining momentum, in part to get their eye in and in part to see off Anderson and the cloudy conditions. The upshot: he was not playing with the freedom he had in the first innings and he failed. I think he has the ability to be a decent 8 and given the licence to play the game his way. More importantly, he needs to improve his bowling for Australia to remain competitive. @yasserrizwan: you'd drop Hughes before Cowan???

Posted by   on (July 15, 2013, 1:42 GMT)

What a complete pile of tripe.

Posted by David_Jockel on (July 15, 2013, 1:23 GMT)

Agree completely re. probs with putting DRS solely in hands of onfield umpires. I think the solution is to give onfield umpires the power to refer, but to retain the players right to also do so. This way an onfield umpire can respond directly to an appeal if he is confident, by either raising or not raising his finger. But if it is a close call and he is not sure, he makes a gesture indicating it is being referred to technology. With this system, the umpire can be bold about making immediate decisions he is confident of, because if he happens to make a howler the players can still have it reviewed. I think it would also work quite well from the point of view of the flow and theater of the game. If an umpire raises his finger in response to an appeal that is a massive result, a real jolt of excitement. If he makes the gesture indicating referral upstairs that is also a thrilling moment, with the anticipation of a result to come.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2013, 0:18 GMT)

We saw right back in the second innings what his own and people's expectation can do to Agar. Let him play the game and leave the games out!

Posted by   on (July 15, 2013, 0:16 GMT)

Surely someone has to replace Cowan for the next match, be it Warner or Khawaja...

Posted by TropicPleasure on (July 14, 2013, 23:39 GMT)

I must admit that I've played very little to no cricket. But I've studied the sport for four decades. My conclusion is that Warner, like Watson, isn't a test cricketer. I dare say that one of Australia's biggest problem is having Watson open the batting. He'll give you the odd 40 in very quick time, but, in most cases, he'll be gone before the shine is off the ball. If Australia can't play Watson as a bowling all rounder and bat him at 6 or 7, then he should be out of the side. Warner, too, is a wicket waiting to happen.

As for Agar, there really is nothing special about him. Tino Best scored 95 in a test match against England. Tino Best is no batsman. I doubt Agar will total 98 in the remainder of his innings in this series. I dare add too that this was Australia's best chance at a win. England has the tendency to begin series slowly and hand't won the opening match of a Ashes series in a very long time. England will get better. Australia have played their best.

Posted by   on (July 14, 2013, 23:16 GMT)

Life changing...wow, that is very simple to do int his team. This guy gotlucky with the bat and is ordinary left arm orthodox with no variation. Despite this he has been dubbed at the next Warne...not so fast. Let see if he lasts this Ashes. Moreso, I doubt that he will retain his place as a bowler for the remaining series, because Trott, Bell, Prior et al. would have studied his bowling. My guess is that Englend will bring Monty Panesar into the nets to get a better sense of Agar. Well done England.

Posted by Dan9999 on (July 14, 2013, 23:01 GMT)

What is all the buzz over Ashton Agar? He batted well in one innings, yes. But he is there as a BOWLER not a batsman and if it wasn't for the 3rd umpires mistake he would have been out early on in his innings...As I have said, he has been picked first and foremost as bowler and he took 2/106 in the match. Not good enough.

Posted by KingAjmal on (July 14, 2013, 22:37 GMT)

Totally agree with salazar555. No doubt he surprised everyone in the match but media and experts are just doing what they usually do - overhype a player. Number 11 scoring 98 is impressive but it still wasn't a 100 and if my memory serves me right, I think end of last year someone at number 10 scored a 100 on debut but there was no media attention or praise for that. Ashton was primarily selected as a spinner and really looks mediocre. Geroge Dockrell is a young tall left arm spinner where in my view is much much better than Agar. Just because he's Australian doesn't mean he is special.

Posted by   on (July 14, 2013, 21:10 GMT)

@yasserrizwan ed cowan is the man who should be dropped. hughes scored 81 not out in first innings and was unlucky to be given lbw out. warner hasn't played any cricket for the last 2 months. he should play first two fc games for Australia A side in south Africa and return for the third test match.

Posted by yasserrizwan on (July 14, 2013, 20:01 GMT)

What brilliant piece. Excellent points eloquently made. Warner should be back in side at cost of Hughes. Hughes played well, not taking away anything from his fine 1st innings knock but he lacks belief that Warner has. One innings like Perth test against India or Few good shots and he 'll literally kill it from there. Nothing hurts a man more like fear of infamy when he's supremely skilled and poised to be one of the best of his generation. Warner has skill, temperament needs dressage.

Posted by salazar555 on (July 14, 2013, 19:52 GMT)

I think the media are building him up for a fall. He's 19 and looks to be a very average bowler who can swing the bat. He came in at number 11 with the coach in his ear, go and enjoy yourself, no pressure. That won't be the case in the future, I think the media need to be careful about the hype, the same people might be calling for him to be dropped if he doesn't get any wickets in the next few games

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Mark Nicholas A prolific and stylish middle-order batsman for Hampshire, Mark Nicholas was unlucky never to have played for England, but after captaining his county to four major trophies he made his reputation as a presenter, commentator and columnist. Named the UK Sports Presenter of the Year in 2001 and 2005 by the Royal Television Society, he has commentated all over the world, from the World Cup in the West Indies to the Indian Premier League. He now hosts the cricket coverage for Channel 9 in Australia and Channel 5 in England.

    'Swann could bowl length blindfolded'

Erapalli Prasanna on a thoroughbred professional whose basics were extraordinarily strong

    Does Yorkshire's win bode well for England?

Rob Steen: Historically a strong Yorkshire has acted as a supply line for the Test team, and the current crop hints at longevity

Champions League T20 still battling for meaning

The thrills are rather low-octane, and the tournament overly India-centric. On several counts, it is not yet a global T20 showpiece event

    'My kind of bowling style is gone now'

Gavin Larsen talks about wobbly seam-up, the 1992 World Cup, and his role in the next tournament

The underutilised, and the ergonomically unpleasing

Beige Brigade: Odd bowling actions, the Onehunga Cricket Association, commentary doyens, and Mystery Morrison's Test wickets

News | Features Last 7 days

From Constantine to Chanderpaul

As West Indies play their 500th Test, here's an interactive journey through their Test history

Busy keepers, and Waqar's bowleds

Also, high scores and low averages, most ducks in international cricket, and the 12-year-old Test player

Soaring in the 1980s, slumping in the 2000s

In their pomp, West Indies had a 53-13 win-loss record; in their last 99, it is 16-53. That, in a nutshell, shows how steep the decline has been

'My kind of bowling style is gone now'

Former New Zealand seamer Gavin Larsen talks about wobbly seam-up bowling, the 1992 World Cup, and his role in the next tournament

The contenders to replace Ajmal

Following the bowling ban on Saeed Ajmal, ESPNcricinfo picks five bowlers Pakistan may replace him with for the time being

News | Features Last 7 days