Ashes 2013: James Anderson praises Australia’s Ashton Agar

Ashes 2013: James Anderson admits England's chances of beating Australia in the first Test are hanging in the balance

By Callum Orr

James Anderson admitted England were left frustrated by the batting heroics of Australia’s Ashton Agar, but believes that the match is still in the balance heading into the third day of the first Ashes test at Trent Bridge.

England looked set produce a remarkable bowling performance, having dismantled Australia’s top order to leave the visitors struggling on 117-9, but a brilliant last stand knock of 98 from the 19-year-old test debutant Agar put the Australians firmly back on top.

Anderson praised Agar’s efforts, but added that England should still be happy with their bowling performance.

“He [Agar] obviously played very well and you’ve got to take your hat off to someone like that, we knew he wasn’t going to be a mug”, said Anderson.

“The stuff we have on him is limited because he hasn’t played much but it’s our job on the field to be able to work someone out.

“It was frustrating when we had them 117-9 but it does happen. We were happy to bowl them out for somewhere near out score, we knew we were under par, but there are not many demons on that pitch so we knew if we batted well we could claw it back.”

Replays showed that Agar may well have been dismissed earlier in his innings, but the Umpires missed what could have been a vital stumping for the home side, leaving Anderson frustrated at some of the decisions made on the day.

“Trotty [Jonathan Trott] hit the ball and was given not out on the field, I’m not quite sure what went on after that, it’s pretty disappointing really.

“Joe Root said there was a noise on his but he didn’t really feel anything. It’s day two isn’t it so there’s a lot of cricket to be played it’s going be slow scoring but our job is to wear their bowlers down if we can and get a decent lead.”

Meanwhile, Agar has described his game-changing batting performance as “good fun”, as his efforts put Australia in the driving seat at Trent Bridge.

“When I walked to the crease I was thinking we were in a little bit of trouble but the wicket was good,” said the spin-bowler. “Phil Hughes told me to take it ball by ball; we just played the moment and forgot about everything else.

“It was really good fun, exciting and I enjoyed it. I have always tried to play freely and naturally and I don’t really get too nervous. There are a lot of people who would love to be doing what I’m doing.

“I was told two days before the game that I was playing so I was a little shocked but I had a bit of time to think about it.”

Alan Shearer (Photo: BBC Sport / Screengrab)
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