By BV Swagath
Australia down and out at 117 for 9 in reply to England’s 215 made a stunning recovery to end up with a slender lead. The tourists then made inroads before England saw off Day 2 crawling to 80 for 2 in 43 overs with an overall lead of 15 runs.
Resuming the second day’s play at 75 for 4, Australia was rocked by James Anderson who claimed his 14th five-wicket haul. Overnight batsman Steven Smith scored 53 before he was first man to be dismissed on Day 2 by Anderson. Australia soon collapsed to 117 for 9 when 19-year-old Ashton Agar joined Phil Hughes.
Agar, who bats left-handed looked as good as any other middle order batsman. Along with Phil Hughes, the teenager frustrated the hosts to put up a massive stand of 163 runs for the last wicket. Hughes remained unbeaten with 81 from 131 balls with 9 fours. The attacking Ashton Agar got out missing out on a dream century on debut by just the two runs when his pull off Broad was taken in the deep. Agar’s 98 came in 101 balls with a dozen fours and 2 sixes.
Although Agar missed out a debut century, his name will be written in the history books for getting the highest score at no.11 going past the previous best of 95 held by West Indian Tino Best. Agar figured in another record, the highest ever partnership in Test Cricket for the tenth wicket – 163 along with Phil Hughes.
After the Agar-Hughes show, England were rattled by left-arm quick Mitchell Starc who took the wickets of Joe Root and Jonathan Trott in consecutive deliveries. The hosts recovered from 11 for 2 to 80 for 2 in 43 overs with Cook on 37* and Pietersen on 35*.