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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Praise flows from all quarters for dogged 'Scotty' Agar

Praise flows from all quarters for dogged 'Scotty' Agar

Last updated on: July 12, 2013 17:51 IST

'Dream to make a Test hundred, but didn't expect 98 on debut'

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Australia's Ashton Agar wrote his name into the annals of cricket history with an extraordinary innings of 98 against England, on Thursday, which tilted the first Ashes Test firmly towards his team.

Ashes: Agar lights up Trent Bridge but England recover

Scorecard

The 19-year-old, making his debut, strode to the crease at number 11 after Australia had collapsed to 117 for nine and shared a record last-wicket partnership of 163 with Phil Hughes that changed the course of the match.

"It's a dream to make a Test match hundred but I didn't expect to make 98 on debut so I'm very happy," a grinning Agar told a news conference.

"I was lucky to have a good partner in Phil Hughes and he really helped me through it.

"I was surprised by the support I was getting from the whole crowd," added Agar, still wearing the pristine Baggy Green cap presented to him by former Australia fast bowler Glenn McGrath on Wednesday.

Agar had only played 10 first-class matches before being named in the Australia side as a left-arm spinner for the first Ashes Test.


Image: Ashton Agar is congratulated by his parents John and Sonia after Day 2 of the 1st Investec Ashes Test
Photographs: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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'I was surprised to see him bat down at No 11'

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He recently played for English club Henley whose captain was not surprised by Agar's exploits.

"He actually batted five for us, he batted seven for Western Australia so we gave him a promotion," Bjorn Mordt told the BBC.

"I was quite surprised to see him down at number 11 -- he's not your normal bunny."

Nicknamed "Scotty" by his Henley teammates due to his resemblance to Australian golfer Adam Scott, Agar made a strong impression at the club.

"He's just a great kid, he settled in really quickly, he's a lovely bloke," Mordt said.

The previous highest individual Test score by a number 11 was Tino Best's 95 against England last year.

Agar's family were interviewed after watching his innings from the stands and television pictures showed his mother leaping up when he went for the shot to reach his century before crumpling back to her seat when he was out.


Image: Ashton Agar of Australia
Photographs: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

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'If Agar shapes up they might have to play him higher than the wicketkeeper'

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His father, however, told Sky Sports he was happy his son kept going for his shots as his motto is to play without fear.

Commentators were gushing in their praise for the quality of Agar's shots, including a six over long-on off spinner Graeme Swann which he himself said was his favourite, and two dismissive pulls to the boundary off fast bowler Steven Finn.

"You can't hold talent back and age is no barrier, if Agar shapes up in the next few innings they might have to put him up higher even than the wicketkeeper," former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott said on BBC Radio.

Agar, however, said he would not be pushing for a move up the order.

"That's up to the coach," he said. "I like to think of myself as a bowling all-rounder.

"I like to keep myself fairly relaxed when I'm batting and I don't get too nervous. Cricket was always my number one sport and I am just super happy."


Image: Ashton Agar
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

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