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Agar will have perfect recall of famous day

Record innings: Ashton Agar walks off after missing out on a century.

Record innings: Ashton Agar walks off after missing out on a century. Photo: AP

Because I've been put in the side to take wickets I'm still very, very hungry for that first wicket. 

Ashton Agar's favourite Ashes memory is recorded on a DVD called A Perfect Day.

Confident appeal: Ashton Agar survives a stumping by England's Matt Prior after a video referral.

Confident appeal: Ashton Agar survives a stumping by England's Matt Prior after a video referral. Photo: AP

Now, a decade after watching Steve Waugh make a hundred off the last ball of the day against England at the SCG, Agar has etched an (almost) perfect day of his own into Ashes history.

Agar, still smiling in the afterglow of his scarcely believable 98 from 101 balls, said he had no reason to be disappointed at missing out on a century on debut.

"One of my favourite Ashes moments was Steve Waugh hitting four runs off the last ball of the day to make his hundred and to make a hundred in an Ashes Test would have been awesome, but I'm very happy," the 19-year-old said.

Australia's Ashton Agar leaves the field after being dismissed for 98 runs during the first Ashes cricket test match against England at Trent Bridge cricket ground in Nottingham. Click for more photos

Ashton's Big Day Out!

Ashton Agar the Ashes hero: debutant saves Australia with record Test innings. Photo: Reuters

Australia's heroic last-man-in felt no different walking out to bat for his first Test innings against England than he did for his club teams in Western Australia and Oxfordshire.

His father, John, revealed he lives and plays with a simple motto.

"I had every confidence in him," he said. "He is very level headed. He has a motto that is 'no fear and play with freedom' ... He plays his cricket that way."

Agar is no ordinary No.11, as his previous exploits with the willow show. His most recent century was scored from No.7 for the University of WA, who were in deep trouble at 5-58 when he came in to bat. He saved the game.

Six weeks ago Agar made a half-century for Henley, the club he was sent to as part of Cricket Australia's exchange program with Hampshire.

"He actually batted five for us; he batted seven for Western Australia so we gave him a promotion. I was quite surprised to see him down at number 11 - he's not your normal bunny," said Henley captain Bjorn Mordt.

In his second Sheffield Shield for WA game he made 53 from No.10, and backed it up with an unbeaten 71 in a successful run chase against Tasmania.

"Darren Lehmann told me to bat the way I know how to bat; he's told the whole team to bat in their natural styles. That's what I tried to do, take the game on," Agar said, after completely changing the complexion of the first Test.

"I've done it before. In Queensland I had to bat at No.10 and was fortunate enough to get 50. I was lucky to have a really good partner at the other end in Phil Hughes, he is a seriously, seriously good player and he helped me through it."

Agar was unflustered, not only by England's attack but by the desperate situation he walked into at 9-117.

He was also oblivious to the fact he'd taken down Tino Best's world record for the highest score by a No.11.

Now, he is determined to do the job he was selected for. The left-arm spinner caused some problems for Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook on the second evening of the Test but was still searching for his first wicket.

"Because I've been put in the side to take wickets I'm still very, very hungry for that first wicket," he said. "I like to think I'm a bowling allrounder but to get that wicket will be an extra special moment."

He is dreaming big. "It'd be nice to take five-for now that I didn't get the hundred."

Australia can be thankful that Agar gave up Australian football in his formative years for reasons that are hard to believe looking at his tall, athletic frame.

"So I was the little fat kid getting smashed around so I thought I'd give that a break and the cricket took off.''

The first thing Agar did after getting out was apologise for his parents, who have flown around the world and received excellent value for their tickets.

He needn't have bothered.

"I'm not disappointed," said Agar's father.

"He will get a hundred. It will come, it doesn't have to happen today, he can wait."

Based on his debut innings, his next attempt might be from further up the order.

"That's in the coach's hands but I guess it's a possibility now."

7 comments

  • Is he the one who had special immigration rules for him to be Australian and play cricket.

    Commenter
    Hoppypete
    Location
    Wenty
    Date and time
    July 12, 2013, 10:59AM
    • Nope - that is Fawad Ahmed, 34 year old leg spinner from Pakistan

      Commenter
      Rossy
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      July 12, 2013, 11:55AM
    • No he is not Hoppypete. That is Fahwad Ahmed, who is a refugee from Pakistan.

      Commenter
      Matt
      Date and time
      July 12, 2013, 12:09PM
  • How refreshing was that to watch. Two fine young men just doing what they do best - playing the game they love with smiles on their faces. Congratulations to both Ashton & Phil. What a proud moment for a beautiful family to watch their son & brother make history. A pat on the back to Darren Lehman too, for bringing the "young" vibe to the team. Very proud to be an Aussie today. Now let's bring the Ashes home boys.

    Commenter
    validopinion
    Date and time
    July 12, 2013, 11:12AM
    • Just amazing, Agar came from nowhere and was an inspiration.
      He has a level head and easy attitude which has been missing from the aussie team for years. Well done young man, it was great to watch you bat. I look forward to seeing your smile after you have taken your first test wicket.

      Commenter
      eckman
      Date and time
      July 12, 2013, 11:13AM
      • Saw him in a Sheffield Shield game for WA, was impressed but didnt realise he had 98 in him.

        He is freakin tall for a Spinner and the shot with Hughes giving him a hug just proves that (or Hughes is just a short man)

        Commenter
        Matthew
        Location
        Fremantle
        Date and time
        July 12, 2013, 12:44PM
        • Same old story - shows how weak and insipid our top order are. Again we have relied on the bottom order to make runs. First Starc makes 99 on wicket where none of the top order could hit 20 and now Agar in his first game.
          Clark and others should be ashamed of themselves.....

          Commenter
          Aussie Jim
          Date and time
          July 12, 2013, 3:13PM
          Comments are now closed

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          Australia's Ashton Agar leaves the pitch following his dismissal for 98 runs  during the second days play of the first cricket Test match of the 2013 Ashes series between England and Australia at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on July 11, 2013.    Teenage debutant Ashton Agar frustrated England with a record-breaking innings, as Australia seized an improbable lead on the second day of the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge. At lunch, last man Agar was 69 not out, the 19-year-old breaking a 111-year-old record for the highest score by a No 11 batsman on Test debut of 45 not out set by Australia great Warwick Armstrong against England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1902.AFP PHOTO/ANDREW YATES. RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO ASSOCIATION WITH DIRECT COMPETITOR OF SPONSOR, PARTNER, OR SUPPLIER OF THE ECB Ashton's Big Day Out!

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