First-person reports from the stands
It's hard to ignore a man who broke the world record for the highest score by a No. 11. Ashton Agar played one of the best innings I've ever seen and that's including top order players. It wasn't the way that he attacked but rather the way that he defended that really impressed me. It was hard to tell who was the No. 11 during his partnership with Phil Hughes. Despite being a patriotic England supporter I would have loved to see him score a hundred. You could feel the tension in the ground while he was in the 90s and it was no surprise that he holed out. I do however take full responsibility for Agar's runs as, when he walked to the crease we mercilessly taunted him about being a no-hoper.
Things I'd have changed
I only wish that I was returning for Day 3. The game is right in the balance, after Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen played without any trouble on the second evening.
Agar vs. Swann and Broad in the 90s. Agar had looked untroubled for 90 runs but the contest between Agar and Swann, and then Broad brought the crowd back to life. Agar suddenly started flinching at bouncers from Broad that an hour earlier he was dispatching to the boundary. It finished in dramatic style with England taking the wicket and crowd reacting with a mixture of disappointment and excitement.
Wow moment (and shot of the day)
Agar's shot through mid-on off James Anderson in the afternoon was out of this world. It wouldn't have looked out of place coming from Pietersen's bat but coming from the bat of a debutant No. 11, it was simply breath-taking. Agar got up on one leg, flamingo style, and whipped it through mid-on. It was this shot which turned spectators around me from being disgruntled at England's poor bowling to simply enjoying the history unfold before them.
Player (and photographer) watch
Being positioned at fine-leg, it was Jonathan Trott that was in the firing line from the Aussies (and as the afternoon wore on, the English got pretty rowdy too). It started with good natured banter, people asking for waves etc. but as England's bowling deteriorated the crowd got more impatient. A lot of people were asking when he was going to have a bowl and trying to get him to tell 'Broady to pitch it up for god's sake!' There was also a photographer positioned right in front of us and many of us enjoyed piling the pressure on him while Agar was in the 90s telling him not to miss the historic landmark.
The atmosphere had completely changed from yesterday. Whereas Day 1 was chilly and fans were annoyed at England poor batting and then quickly euphoric at Steve Finn's 2 in 2, today the crowd was completely relaxed, the weather perfect and the alcohol flowing. There was a much more laid back atmosphere today with people still enjoying a day at the cricket even as Australia were piling on the runs. It did change late in the day though, as the crowd debated Trott's 'dismissal'.
Apart from the on-field entertainment from Agar, most of the entertainment was to be found in the stands in the late afternoon. A day of soaring temperatures and heavy drinking took its toll and numerous beer snakes reared their heads around the ground, as well as the now ubiquitous beach balls. As Cook and Pietersen played out maiden after maiden the crowd made their own entertainment and this mostly came from ribbing the sub, David Warner.
Another enthralling day of Ashes cricket. However Jonathan Trott's dismissal was a low point. The entire crowd cheered as the inside edge was shown on the large screen and then were livid when the decision was overturned. The communication inside the ground was poor and people were clueless as to why the side-on hotspot wasn't shown. It was left to social media to update the crowd and there was murmur around the stands in the following hour as people debated the decision and came up with numerous theories to explain the decision.
Marks out of 10
7. Still a great day's cricket, especially England's efforts with the ball to take 5 wickets for 9 runs but the controversy around Trott's dismissal, and then Cook and KP's non-batting detracted from some of the Agar magic in the morning.
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