- England v Australia, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge, 2nd day
Hot Spot under the spotlight
George Dobell, Dan Brettig and Jarrod KimberJuly 11, 2013
Bet of the day
If you had placed a bet on Steve Smith being the first player to score a fifty in these Ashes, you would now be counting many dollar bills. The official announcement that Smith was in the squad came after he was in the team. No one really expected him to play. Fewer expected him to be successful. Instead, other than one barely talked about partnership, Smith made his fifty. And he did it by smashing Graeme Swann through cover in such an authorities way that you would have bet your house, kids and pets on the fact he would top score in the innings. Or at least outscore the number 11.
Defining moment of the day
A flowing drive for four from Phil Hughes off the bowling of Stuart Broad gave Australia a first innings lead and brought up the 100 stand for the 10th wicket. It was a scenario that seemed highly unlikely 90 minutes earlier when Australia lost five wickets for the addition of nine runs in 32 deliveries and their final pair came together with England still 98 ahead. Hughes was not the dominant partner in the stand, though: Ashton Agar scored 67 of the first 100 runs the pair added, becoming the first Australian No.11 to score a half-century in his debut innings and going on to make 98, the highest score ever by a No. 11 in Test cricket. In all the pair added 163 - another record for the 10th wicket - to turn the game on its head.
Review of the day
Aleem Dar, the on field umpire, originally gave Jonathan Trott not out when he attempted to play across his first delivery - his only delivery, as it transpired - from Mitchell Starc. While there was little doubt the ball was straight enough to win a leg before appeal, there was a suspicion of an inside edge. Australia were quick to utilise the DRS, though, and delighted when the TV umpire, Marais Erasmus, decided to overrule Dar and see Trott given out. Bearing in mind the evidence available to Erasmus, it was a brave decision: there was no side-on Hot Spot available - it had been utilised for the previous delivery; the wicket of Joe Root and did not record the ball to Trott - while slow motion replays also suggested a deviation - possibly natural, possibly off an inside edge. It also felt a somewhat inconsistent decision bearing in mind the earlier episode where Agar, on 6, was given the benefit of the doubt after a very tight stumping appeal.
Throw of the day
It was hard to work out what Stuart Broad was actually doing out on the field. His external blow from James Pattinson in his innings meant that he didn't need to spend time out on the field in order to bowl. Yet there he was. Fielding, and not bowling, for hours. Even as Agar and Hughes started hinting at records, Broad stayed unmoved. It made little sense, either he wasn't fit enough to be out there, and should have been getting more treatment. Or he was fit enough and should have bowled earlier. Instead, all his arm did before Australia took the lead was a limp side arm throw that made it look like he'd never played before. Agar probably would have preferred that was all his arm was used for.
Tight call of the day
Agar had made all of six runs and Australia were 131 for 9 when Swann spun an off break past the debutant's groping bat. A utility appeal by Matt Prior for both the catch and the stumping had Kumar Dharmasena calling for the assistance of television, which showed a desperately tight call over whether or not Agar had any part of his foot behind the crease line. A combination of fortunately a placed shadow, and camera angles that were not quite optimal, left Erasmus puzzling over numerous replays. The longer he deliberated, the greater chance Agar's chance of survival, and eventually the not out verdict was relayed. At the time it did not seem to matter much, but as Agar's innings grew, so too did English scepticism.
Reaction of the day
With most of Australia - if not the world - cheering him on, Agar reached the cusp of a century. On 98, confronted by a creative field setting and Broad committed to bowling short, he swung hopefully towards the midwicket boundary, only to pick out Swann, who claimed a neat catch as he dived forward. Agar's response to the end of his fairytale was as graceful as his innings, a wistful smile and a gentle shrug. But Swann's fist-pumping celebration of the catch seemed more intent on stealing the scene than acknowledging the piece of Test match history he had been part of.