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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Ashton Agar: Aus 19-year-old spinner bats into record books

Ashton Agar: Aus 19-year-old spinner bats into record books

July 11, 2013 20:55 IST

Ashton Agar: Aus 19-year-old spinner bats into record books

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Ashton Agar played an extraordinary innings of 98 on his debut to haul Australia out of trouble in the first Ashes Test against England on Thursday.

It is the highest ever score by a number 11 in a Test match.

The 19-year-old came to the crease with Australia reeling on 117 for nine, and shared a Test record last-wicket partnership of 163 with Phil Hughes.

He fell two runs short of what would have been a well-deserved century when he was caught by Graeme Swann off Stuart Broad at deep mid-wicket.

Ten weeks ago, the Melbourne lad was looking forward to spending the English summer as an Australian Institute of Sports scholar. But, on July 10, he was surprisingly named in Australia's squad for the first Test.

Agar, toured India with Michael Clarke's squad earlier this year, played for Western Australia, Perth Scorchers. From 10 first class games, he has 31 wickets, with a best of 5 for 65, and 336 runs, 71 not out being his best.

He made his first class debut against New South Wales this January. He scored 10 in the first innings and took three wickets before scoring an unbeaten 34 in the second.

 


Image: Ashton Agar of Australia bowls on his Test debut during day one of the 1st Investec Ashes Test match between England and Australia at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

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Agar's natural way of spinning a ball comes from his Sri Lankan DNA

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Agar was included in Australia's squad not for his batting, but bowling.

Former Australian cricketer Ashley Mallet says he is a ''natural born predator'', whose attitude comes from his Sri Lankan heritage.

Agar is the grandson of Nala Hewawissa, who played cricket for Dharmarajah College, in Kandy. His grandmother, Sheilagh Hewawissa, was employed with the Ceylon Tea Board, while his father, John, played club cricket in Melbourne.

According to The Age, spin great Mallet feels Agar's smooth and natural way of spinning a ball comes from his Sri Lankan DNA.

Praising Agar, Mallet said the left-arm spinner is a confident youngster without any brashness and has impressed with his good rhythm and calm temperament at both home and abroad despite playing just ten first-class matches.

He added that Agar delivers from a considerable height and gets a lot of over spin on the ball.


Image: Ashton Agar of Australia leaves the ground after being dismissed by Stuart Broad of England on 98 runs during day two of the 1st Investec Ashes Test match between England and Australia at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground
Photographs: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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Trump card pick

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Mallet went on to say that Agar's inclusion for the Nottingham Test match is the best selection pick since Max Walker came into Ian Chappell's team against Pakistan at the MCG in 1972 and proved a trump card in the Caribbean just a few months later.

However, Mallet he hastened to add that unlike Max Walker, whose approach to the crease was a tangle-footed display of arms and legs going in all directions, Agar moves in rhythmically and his whole approach and energy through the crease appears to be the most natural thing in the world for him.


Image: Ashton Agar of Australia receives his Baggy Green cap on his Test debut from former Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

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Agar has similarities to Daniel Vettori

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According to Mallet, Agar, who is 6 foot 4 and extremely tall for a spinner, has similarities to New Zealand veteran Daniel Vettori.

He says the youngster can also bowl the square spinner, a ball which looks as though it is spinning but skids on straight, like he taught Vettori and England's Graeme Swann, both of whom collected a number of wickets with the method.

Mallet further said that in replacing the inconsistent Nathan Lyon in Michael Clarke's team, Agar brings to the table as much spin talent as his predecessor and better consistency.


Image: Ashton Agar of Australia bowls on his Test debut during day one of the 1st Investec Ashes Test match between England and Australia at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

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