England v Australia, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge, 3rd day

A fate Australia did not deserve

Although ending the day frustrated, tired and, perhaps, a little angry Australia showed plenty of attributes that will serve them well during the Ashes

Daniel Brettig at Trent Bridge

July 12, 2013

Comments: 44 | Text size: A | A

Ashton Agar celebrates after having Jonny Bairstow caught behind, England v Australia, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge, 3rd day, July 12, 2013
After his success with the bat, Ashton Agar teased with the ball and, as a whole, Australia deserved more © Getty Images

Ashton Agar did not deserve it, and nor did Australia. Life isn't always fair and nor, at regular junctures in its winding five-day narrative, is Test cricket. Sometimes, events simply do not unfold in an equitable manner. It is a fact of life an international cricketer must learn to deal with, for too much rage at an apparent injustice can still be clouding the mind when the next pivotal moment arrives.

An obvious edge to slip that the umpire Aleem Dar did not see, and that the batsman Stuart Broad insouciantly declined to acknowledge, was the most sickening moment for Agar, the captain Michael Clarke and the coach Darren Lehmann, who wore a thunderous expression on the team balcony. But it also spoke to a wider truth about day three. The touring side put their very marrow into the task of dislodging England on a flat pitch, and could not be criticised too much for their thinking, or their execution. Yet Agar and the rest still walked off the field at Trent Bridge with another four wickets to claim on day four, Broad's among them.

Australia's planning for the day had shown plenty of evidence of lessons learned from the dysfunctional tour of India earlier this year. There were tight spells by the pacemen with ring fields and an avid search for reverse swing. Agar dropped onto a teasing length and used the footmarks created by the bowlers as a source of variation, in addition to the loop, flight and changes of pace he was able to impart. And Shane Watson was used on short stints at the crease that emphasised nagging accuracy and concentration, the occasional stumps-seeking inswinger used as a weapon of surprise.

All these stratagems forced England's batsmen to play with considerable discipline, from the moment Kevin Pietersen joined Alastair Cook on the second evening following the fall of Joe Root and Jonathan Trott to successive balls from Mitchell Starc. It was perhaps the most sustained display of such bowling by an Australian attack in generally unhelpful conditions since the 2004 triumph in India, when a far more revered team succeeded in winning the battle of patience.

"Michael Clarke set some very good fields today," Pietersen said. "Their bowlers also bowled really well. We had to play with a lot of discipline. Siddle runs in all day. It is like he has Duracell batteries in him. He is a fantastic cricketer for Australia. He is a typical die hard serve your country bowler. They all bowled with discipline and good areas. It was important for Chef and I to set a foundation certainly last night to get to the end of play and set foundation for our players to go out and play today."

Even accounting for the time and effort put in by Pietersen and Cook, they did not get away from Clarke's men, nor from Agar. Pressure was sustained over upon over, and was rewarded when James Pattinson coaxed a Pietersen drag onto the stumps. Cook then fell 10 runs later, defeated by lovely loop and line from Agar, plus the spectre of the rough, which caused him to close the face of his bat in expectation of turn and offer a front edge well held by Clarke. Agar's celebrations were well earned, but he was not content with one.

Jonny Bairstow became Agar's second victim, a ball spinning just enough to slide across the bat's slightly open face and nestle into Brad Haddin's gloves. In those two balls Agar had done close to everything a spin bowler must to succeed over a long period - one that spins, another that doesn't and both delivered with teasing flight and drop. He gained in accuracy and poise with each successive over, already far more confident than the naturally nervous figure he appeared on the first morning.

Matt Prior held the Australians up for a time, but it is clear that they have done a great deal of planning for the strengths of England's counterpunching wicketkeeper. A shortish square cover was posted, as it had been in the first innings, while men stationed at gully, point and a slightly deeper midwicket waited for airy, aggressive shots. The first chance Prior offered did not go to hand, when an ill Ed Cowan was unable to jump high enough to clasp a slice behind point. But another was not long in following, ironically to Cowan at midwicket from a pull shot after Steve Smith had been sent to roam the offside region.

To this point it was Australia's day, reflecting a good deal of credit on the bowlers, their captain and the coaching staff who had prepared them for Trent Bridge. The burning of the team's referrals on a pair of somewhat speculative lbw appeals sat in the back of English minds, and so too the decision to exchange an old ball that was reverse swinging notably for a new projectile that did not immediately deign to bend. But the overall impression was of a team working neatly and intelligently together, Agar's spin losing little by comparison with that of the off spinner Nathan Lyon, who he had edged out for this match.

Broad's innings would start in fortunate fashion, an inside edge preventing the tourists from raising their voices fully in an lbw appeal, and several other edges slid out of the reach of Clarke's fields. While Ian Bell was near enough to impassable, demonstrating the purity of his technique against the moving or spinning ball, Broad's survival after snicking Agar to slip was enough to test the patience of any team. The next over, Haddin was unable to grasp the toughest of low chances to his right from Bell, enhancing the opportunity for frustration.

But even in this moment the Australians showed something that was admirable, and worth savouring. Clarke's remonstrations against Dar were sharp, but short, and the final 15 overs of the day gave up only another 29 runs. It had been a staunch effort under-rewarded, and only occasionally blighted by flawed judgement. Better was deserved, and in this series there will surely be other days when Agar and Australia benefit from greater fortune than they received on this one.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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

Mitty 2, the article begins by saying that "Australia didn't deserve it". If we are missing the point of the article then it was very badly written. That inflammatory statement would overshadow anything else coming after it. That's because we all know that Australia deserves that and a whole lot more. We can be almost positive that every single Australian on that team would have done what Broad did and a whole lot more! The 'spirit of the game' according to all the Aussies I've watched over the last 40+ years is the spirit of WINNING!

Posted by seniorgators on (July 14, 2013, 17:13 GMT)

@ OhhhhhMattyMatty How could Agar have known he was short when he was pushing his back leg back and could not even see the stumps being broken. The call by the umpire was based simply on the vision that showed a small part of Agars foot behind the line. What was unknown was whether any of it was grounded.

And tell me why if Starc knew Trott had hit the cover of it, would he refer it? He had no knowledge that Hot Spot was not available. The answer is players like Umpires often get it wrong.

Finally there have been 6 times in the game where Oz has been on the wrong end of 50 50 lbw decisions. 4 times with England batting Hawk Eye has shown the ball hitting the stumps with 3 being the outer portion of leg stump. The Umpires have given ALL of these not out and 3 times OZ have lost the referral. Not howler decisions at all but if umps had given them out , any referrals by England would have still resulted in them being out. In short, England has clearly had the superior rub of the green

Posted by   on (July 14, 2013, 14:03 GMT)

may be the author can explain how many times the Australians walked. I know their current caption walks. how about their previous famous captions and players. Be fair when writing otherwise dont write

Posted by Beertjie on (July 14, 2013, 5:14 GMT)

The issue of desert is simply to contentious to entertain. Hoping for a good fight, as has been shown in this test (weather and pitch conditions played their part in the first innings, as well as excellent bowling by Anderson). Whatever the result, Aus must expect similar conditions at Lords (probably more bounce, though). Our much vaunted attack ought to have done much better than permit 375. Therefore our best reverse-swinger, Harris, must play for Starc. Mostly agree, @ Wefinishthis on (July 13, 2013, 0:39 GMT) about dropping Starc and Cowan, but Watson deserves to be retained atm. Khawaja for Cowan and Harris for Starc. Warner goes to Zimbabwe for practice and should come into reckoning for 3rd test. I, too, like Bird, so not sure if he too should come in atm. Maybe wait to see how he bowls v Sussex. Patto did not have a great test, but that might just be nerves. Posters criticizing Agar's bowling should acknowledge that an injury to his bowling hand hindered him in spinning.

Posted by 214ty on (July 13, 2013, 15:28 GMT)

We need to stop covering and protecting umpires. We need to stop saying that Aleem Dar did not see it. He knew that there was an edge, he just did not feel like giving it out. In a situation so, why didn't the third umpire come in? Need to start penalizing umpires for such obvious and blatant mistakes. Stop rely on team reviews. Give umpires more authority to review if they are in doubt.

Posted by   on (July 13, 2013, 10:27 GMT)

I'm amazed that this article has not mentioned why Australia could not review the decision i.e. they had used them up on speculative appeals getting the "undeserved" wicket of Trott into the bargain. Without that information it rings pretty hollow.

Posted by   on (July 13, 2013, 10:26 GMT)

So Agar "did not deserve" to have an incorrect decision go against him when he was bowling. Did he "deserve" to have an incorrect decision go in his favour when he was batting, without which Australia would have trailed by 80+ on first innings and there would have been no "teenager scores 98 on debut from number 11" fairytale?

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (July 13, 2013, 9:48 GMT)

I'm sure Clarke gambling on marginal LBWs (which DRS was NOT designed for) had nothing to do with it, right?

Posted by Malx on (July 13, 2013, 9:40 GMT)

Remember Clarke didn't walk either. In a test at Adelaide, saw it on sky. As an Aussie living in London, Australia are just not good enough. Rememeber if it wasn't for Agar & Hughes's unbelievable partnership, Australia would of been all out for 120. Game over. I agree Starc is a very average bowler but so is Pattinson. Warner should open in the next test with Watto and Rogers at 3. Ed needs to go back to the Aust A team. I think Faulker would be a good one to have in.

Posted by Mitty2 on (July 13, 2013, 9:02 GMT)

People are missing the point of this article. Daniel is barely even focusing on the controversial dismissal (and btw, on all available evidence, trott was OUT, with no deviation on the front on view and no sound whatsoever) and is focusing on the fact that Australia has shown fight and grit, has defied the critics who predicted subversive whitewashed, and have just been unlucky on day 3. We bowled economically and with pressure, there have been 4 dropped catches just from memory, an LBW decision and a catch not being able to be reviewed that were out, and numerous edges that dropped short and inside edges that missed the stumps. The fact of the matter is is that we will most likely lose this match despite having the better of England for most of the test and on day 3 (because Eng have won the crucial sessions), but we have performed admirably, above expectations, and have played so much better than we did in India that it's not funny. That's why this article is necessary (kitschiguy).

Posted by OhhhhhMattyMatty on (July 13, 2013, 8:37 GMT)

Agar out stumped for 6, didn't walk scandalously (he'd have known he was short), goes on to make an undeserved 98. Trott smashes the cover off one, Starc KNEW he had like Aleem Dar, but given out LBW. England are still miles behind on bad decisions in this Test.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (July 13, 2013, 8:31 GMT)

Lets isolate this incident. It was a stinker. Broad has every right to stand by the umpires decision. The problem is that this was conclusively out, and whereby the 3rd umpire should intervene. I don't care if its against Australia or England, but such a conclusively disgraceful descision should be overruled for the integrity of the game.

Posted by Winsome on (July 13, 2013, 8:06 GMT)

Agar is the darling boy of the Aussie media at present, but they are going to turn on him. They will and it will be just as nasty and unpleasant as the stuff that Hughes and Smith have had to put up with. I was pretty pleased with how the Aussie kept at it overall. Broad seemed to get away with about 6 or so French cuts! He is a mighty jammy player. Ian Bell played quite beautifully, just a treat to see him play with that amount of discipline and smarts.

Posted by glance_to_leg on (July 13, 2013, 7:51 GMT)

I wish Broad has walked, but frankly there have been so many poor umpiring decisions against England his, to my mind, poor sportsmanship has simply evened matters up a little. There was something brazen about it, but I think most professional cricketers (Gilchrist might have been an exception) hold their ground until the finger is raised. To me this takes some of the beauty from the game - I once walked when an lbw was denied the bowler, and I was sure I had been done plumb, much to the annoyance of my team - but it is the way that cricket is now played, so everyone should just forget it and move on.

Posted by   on (July 13, 2013, 7:18 GMT)

Australia did not deserve to be ahead in the first inning in the first place, save the freaking batting from #11 rookie who himself was actually stumped out earlier. Trott, Root went for nothing justified. Aussie were extremely lucky to put in a fight in this Test match again helped by injury of opponent one of the strike bowler. It should be well justified they loose this match, they did not play really well rather buoyed by unexpected fortune from an absolutely hopeless situation. This article is completely shallow and opportunistic narration of the match

Posted by   on (July 13, 2013, 6:28 GMT)

Agar enjoyed his share of luck the previous day when reprieved from a stumping dismissal on 6. An early example to him that "you win some, you lose some" when it comes to perverse umpiring decisions.

Posted by Mitty2 on (July 13, 2013, 5:54 GMT)

Love this article. Well done Brettig. However, I think there's another element to this. The art of winning the 'crucial sessions', which, to date, England have done. (I watched until tea) On a day where the ball wasn't bouncing, conventionally swinging and spinning noticably, I'd say we definitely won the first two sessions. And on the first and second day, we won more sessions than England did. However, the sessions we won (apart from the partnership of agar and Hughes) were only won marginally; whereas with England (with the examples of last night's post tea session and when Anderson/swann ripped through our middle order), they won the crucial sessions and they won them convincingly. I think this could set a precedent, and with Eng's experience, I did predict us to fight admirably but for Eng to win the crucial parts of the test.

Clarke's tactics were brilliant (as usual) and it's good to see us do well against eng's top order. I think we were unlucky, but most important: we fought.

Posted by   on (July 13, 2013, 2:17 GMT)

Bad umpring from aleem dar stuard broad musr have known it when people say Trott must have not given out england team came and said their views, Now then where must braod show his face.

Gentelmens game must be played beautifully.

Posted by humdrum on (July 13, 2013, 1:31 GMT)

Now that the boot is on the other foot,a deafening silence from captain cook and co. regarding umpires.Probably, the mood in the dressing room was-"Hail, a Daniel has come to justice."also, english opinion on aleem dar over the last twelve months has fluctuated from sublime(vic marks termed him as "The Messi of umpires") to the ridiculous(dropped from officiating in the Champions trophy final on objections by the home team). after this incident he should be back in the good books of the british media, the players et al.

Posted by   on (July 13, 2013, 1:01 GMT)

"in this series there will surely be other days when Agar and Australia benefit from greater fortune than they received on this one"

Yeah, like yesterday.

Posted by indianpunter on (July 13, 2013, 0:54 GMT)

C'mon, Daniel. Agree that it was a howler. But Trott didnt deserve it, neither did England. Marasmus was not even aware that Hot Spot was NOT available for the delivery that got Trot ( it was still keyed into the previous delivery, Root's dismissal). As much as i am not a Broad fan, he was well within his right to stay put. Sydney 2008 anyone?? andrew symonds hit the cover of the ball and stayed put ( Bucknor gave it not out). Same test.The paragon of virtue, Michael Clarke, hit the ball to slip and stayed put. He did NOT walk. But this time Bucknor gave it out. What goes around, comes around.

Posted by Chris_Howard on (July 13, 2013, 0:49 GMT)

Daniel, a little Aussie self-righteousness there? Losing respect for your writing. When Agar and Trott decisions went against England, that was the swings and roundabouts that balances out in the end. But when it goes against Australia, that's a huge injustice.

"Ashton Agar did not deserve it, and nor did Australia. " Oh yeah, and Agar deserved to be not out on that stumping that was more out than in? And Australia deserved to have Trott out when he wasn't?

As an Aussie, proud of my team, embarrassed by my media.

Posted by Wefinishthis on (July 13, 2013, 0:39 GMT)

You're too generous Daniel. The wheels have fallen off for Australia now. Pattinson's been having an off innings, Siddle has demonstrated his usual inconsistency and with Agar getting belted in his first match, this was the moment for Starc to step up. He averaged 27 in the first innings which is passable, but he's averaging 33 now (ie not good) in the 2nd innings which is proving that he's just not getting any better (not to mention that he still gets a high ratio of tail-enders). He may come and clean up tomorrow, but fact is, like Watson he's just not good enough in tests. Get Bird or at least Harris or Faulkner in there (and preferably O'Keefe). We're seeing the difference now between top orders as well. Australia's top 7 struggle to pass 250 almost every innings, whereas England's powerful top 7 punish bad bowling. So time to drop Starc, Watson and Cowan - they've all had enough chances. Bring in Warner, Khawaja and Bird at least.

Posted by disco_bob on (July 13, 2013, 0:27 GMT)

England may win this match but Australia have shown enough character and talent as well as besting England's unimaginative captain to convince me that we will be taking Ernie back with us.

Posted by   on (July 12, 2013, 23:55 GMT)

"Deserved"? No team has been in as many controversies regarding damaging the spirit of cricket as Australia. This piece is very biased and takes away all credit from England, who are a class apart from the poorly talented but workmanly Aussies. The fact that Aussies end up in this situation is not because of bad luck, as Brettig claims. It is the better team winning the sessions and the day. Really disappointed to see Brettig write such a column. This could have been any of the perpetually whining Aussie fans who post on Cricinfo but not Brettig!

Posted by   on (July 12, 2013, 23:48 GMT)

Well, Just because Australians don't walk you should not follow it blindly. Have some sportsmanship!, win it by heart.

Posted by   on (July 12, 2013, 23:48 GMT)

Well, After day 2, Australia can hardly say that they have a reason to complain!! They should actually be thankful to their no 11 batsman that they are still alive in the test.

Thoroughly enjoyed day 3 with English batsmen grinding the Australians!! It is just the first test. English batsmen have many more days to relish on Australian bowling.

Clarke at the toss said "you have to take 20 wickets, well might start today"!! He knows his bowlers and English batsmen doesn't he!

Posted by prasanna1157 on (July 12, 2013, 23:33 GMT)

Superbly written, Dan Brettig!

Posted by TropicPleasure on (July 12, 2013, 23:19 GMT)

"An obvious edge to slip that the umpire Aleem Dar did not see, and that the batsman Stuart Broad insouciantly declined to acknowledge..." I've read this here and in other reports. Broad didn't edge the ball to slip, the ball went to the keeper and, as is the case virtually every time, batsmen don't walk when they edge to the keeper. As a matter of fact, some batsmen don't walk when they are caught in front of the wicket, waiting for the umpire to either send them on their way of check if it was a no-ball. It's poor journalism to give readers the impression that there was an edge that went straight to slip,which is what Daniel Brettig implied, not once, but twice in this piece.

Posted by   on (July 12, 2013, 23:08 GMT)

A very good article, with an excellent point at the end about Clarke's reaction to the Broad incident. A lesser side than Australia would have gone to pieces at that point, and the fact that they kept on fighting bodes well for the rest of the series as a contest. This Australia may be relatively inexperienced in Ashes cricket, but it looks like it won't fold, ever, regardless of what the scorecard says.

Posted by   on (July 12, 2013, 23:05 GMT)

Dar is generally a fine umpire, but those which he gets wrong are such howlers that you start thinking who made him an umpire in the first place...

Posted by nareshgb1 on (July 12, 2013, 22:59 GMT)

now the Aussies must know what Indians feel about Bucknor. I aint compalining anout nuthin' right nah....:):)

Posted by Alexk400 on (July 12, 2013, 22:55 GMT)

Agar length is a problem. He spins well. May be slow it down and let ball bounce more. He can be great if he believe in himself in bowling. Batting he has self belief. I think he bowl too much full toss and lines going wrong. He has to make batsman play. if he pitch outside off stump..he is effective. Not much effective when he bowl at stump. He has to make batsman uncomfortable with length. Thats is the key.

Posted by wix99 on (July 12, 2013, 22:39 GMT)

Australia look likely to loose this Test, but I think the team will come out of it looking forward to the rest of the series. Apart from the top order batting failure in the first innings Australia have played very good, disciplined cricket.

Posted by   on (July 12, 2013, 22:06 GMT)

Sure, Australia didn't deserve it, but they had a few go in their favour in this game. Agar should have been stumped for not too many in the 1st inns, and Trott was not out. The DRS is good for the game -- if anything they should increase the no. of reviews or take the decision out of the player's hand and let the 3rd umpire automatically overrule. What is wrong is the hating on Twitter by Shane Warne on Aleem Dar. Dar is one of the best umps going round, Warney's just bitter because of 2005 when Dar refused some pretty ridiculous appeals by him. Suck it up, Aussie fans. You have no right to complain when someone doesn't walk or an umpire makes a bad decision. Sydney 2008 against India -- Clarke nicked Kumble to first slip and stood his ground. Karma comes back around.

Posted by jolo on (July 12, 2013, 22:06 GMT)


Australia had a tough day today, and got some bad calls (or at least one). But to argue that they didn't get what they deserved? What has that to do with it? Did England deserve to trail by 65 after a world record partnership that followed a very suspect not-out decision when England were 85 ahead? One could argue that neither bowling attack has gained what they deserve. But that would be to undervalue the phenomenal innings of Agar, and the incredible focus and effort of Bell, and yes, even the grit and give-no-quarter attitude of Broad. And where did he learn that? According to the man himself in an interview before this series, much of his mongrel was developed in his time playing in Australia, because it was either that or get rolled over by Ozzie aggression every time.

If Australia turn up tomorrow crying over what happened today, they will lose. But I don't expect them to, just as England didn't after what happened yesterday.

Both teams are made of sterner stuff.

Posted by   on (July 12, 2013, 22:02 GMT)

You'll have me in tears in a minute. I've heard of short-term memory loss but think back to just the previous day's play for some examples of misfortune on the other foot.

Posted by GeoffreysMother on (July 12, 2013, 21:57 GMT)

I'm not sure Australia were as good as you suggest. They were not bad, but the 'sustained pressure' was for long periods essentially about restricting run scoring rather than taking wickets. They did this by bowling wide of off stump to packed offside fields - hardly something the 'best pace attack in the world' should do on a pitch of variable bounce, no pace and providing opportunities for reverse swing.

Agar bowled well enough though both of his wickets were to shots both batsmen should be annoyed with. His performance is better judged in comparison once Swann has bowled again. That is not to say this has not been a good first test performance from him, but lets hold off the ' new saviour' mantle yet - he has had the advantage of being a complete unknown in this test - he won't in the next. Let's also spare a thought for Lyon who the selectors, here and in India, seem determined to undermine him in word and deed. I'm not sure he would not have bowled better on this wicket.

Posted by Ash-opines on (July 12, 2013, 21:42 GMT)

Well Dan Australia should be the last team that should feel aggrieved by umpiring biases and players not walking; Pls rewind to Circa 2008 and Michael Clarke and Ponting not walking in the Sydney test and claiming a floored catch. What goes around comes around! Karma !!

Posted by aracer on (July 12, 2013, 21:23 GMT)

Ah, but did Agar deserve to score more than 6 runs? Did Australia deserve to have a first innings lead? Did Trott deserve to be given out?

Posted by tatactg on (July 12, 2013, 21:23 GMT)

Nothing to gripe about for 1 unfair decision when they have used up all the reviews , 4 or 5 such decisions happen in every innings that Bangladesh bowls in a test match & there is no DRS/Reviews in those matches.

Posted by Kitschiguy on (July 12, 2013, 21:10 GMT)

I don't see the point of this article. Is it some kind of advert or Is the reader supposed to sympathise with Australia? It reads as a heavily biased summary of the days events by a partisan Australian writer written to be lapped up by the hordes of feeling-hard-done-by Australian fans to enable them to feel better about the fact that it's just not fair on them. Oh, wait - that's exactly what it is.

Posted by Tlotoxl on (July 12, 2013, 21:08 GMT)

The 10th best batsmen on the planet according to ICC test rankings who averages 49.2 did not deserve to get sawn off first ball for LBW when he *clearly* hit it, a potentially match changing decision, compared to not giving out a guy who averages 18 in the last 18 months and has been batting *dreadfully* recently makes me think the Aussies got the better end of the bad decisions and that is without even considering the Agar stumping which was clearly out.

Posted by Kitschiguy on (July 12, 2013, 20:56 GMT)

No, he deserved to be out stumped on 6 though.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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