When Australia’s Ashton Agar Scored 98 off 101 Balls At No. 11 On Test Debut


What do you think would happen when a number 11 batsman comes to the crease when his team is down and out? Added to that this No.11 batsman is making his debut and that too against the formidable England team. The last thing you would expect him to do would be to hit 98 runs and save a test match. Ashton Agar made his test debut in 2013 while he was just 19 years old. Not just that he made his debut in the 2013 Ashes series, which is the most pressure match for any Australian player. However, Agar had a fairytale debut as he played brilliantly to change the direction of the match and his innings would be record-breaking.

Match Saving Partnership 

In the first match of the Ashes series in 2013 at Trent Bridge, Australia were trailing by 98 runs in their first innings when they lost 9 wickets. They had lost 5 wickets in the last 32 balls and were not in a good position, with Anderson reverse-swinging the ball beautifully.

In walked the debutant spinner Ashton Agar, aged 19 to join Phil Hughes at the other end. Agar initially was given a brief scare when he had made only 6 runs by Graeme Swann he was saved narrowly when Swann was denied a stumping by the smallest of margins when the replays were checked by the third umpire. Agar soon started striking the ball beautifully and decided to take the attack to the opposition. The teenager batting in his first test match at No.11 made a formidable bowling attack comprising the likes of Anderson, Broad, Finn, and Swann seem ordinary. The runs scored by Agar were not scratchy and didn’t come by fluke, in fact, they came from proper cricketing shots, some of which were compared to the ones played by the legendary Brian Lara. The English bowlers who had caused an Australian batting collapse just a few hours ago looked clueless as Australia surpassed England’s first innings score of 215 with Agar and Phil Hughes still at the crease.

Ashton Agar ended up scoring 98 runs before he got caught by Graeme Swann on the mid-wicket boundary off Stuart Broad. He and Phil Hughes together added 168 runs for the last wicket and took Australia from 117-9 to 280-10 and brought Australia from trailing behind to leading the match. Ashton Agar emerged as the top scorer in the Australian innings.

The then-Australian President was so impressed by this partnership and Agar’s batting that he praised them in a tweet:


Breaking The Records

The debutant left-arm-spinner, Ashton Agar hit 98 runs and overtook West Indies’ Tino Best’s 95 against England in 2012 for the record for the highest score by a number 11 batsman. He hit 12 fours and 2 sixes. He also broke a 100-year-old record of the best score by a debutant at number 11, previously held by Warwick Armstrong who hit 45 runs for Australia against England at Melbourne in 1902. He also became the first No.11 in the history of the game to score a half-century on debut.

Agar and Phil Hughes also surpassed the record Test partnership of 151 for the 10th wicket – adding 163 runs. The previous 10th-wicket record of 151 was set by New Zealand’s Brian Hastings and Richard Collinge against Pakistan at Auckland back in 1973 and it was equaled in 1997 by Pakistan’s Azhar Mahmood and Mushtaq Ahmed against South Africa in Rawalpindi.

Agar’s 98 allowed Australia to make a comeback in the match, however in the end they lost the match by 14 runs. Agar proved that he is not just a spinner and has good batting abilities as well.

However, in the same series, Agar was dropped from the Australian side. He showed immense promise with the bat in the first match but he wasn’t doing well with the ball for which he was selected. Australia was 2-0 down after a hammering at Lord’s and thus could not afford to pick a spinner who wasn’t taking wickets.Since then, he is not been a regular in the Australian 11 as the team chooses Nathan Lyon over him as the lead spinner. He has been in and out of the team and till now has played just 5 tests, 27 ODIs, and 47 T20Is. His 98-run knock in his debut actually ended up being his only international 50 to date, after he missed a dream debut century in his first international appearance.

With that, we come to the end of this article, we need to see if the coming Ashes also gives us another debutant like this. We will continue to bring you cricket content like this, till then adios!

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