Ashton Agar’s first Test innings could have gone worse

Was it only last year when we wrote about how enjoyable it was to watch a number 11 batsman make a record Test score? ‘Cricket at its best,’ we wrote, completely forgetting that a lurching Ashes Test makes us want to vomit until we’re right down to the lung butter.

Having cleared up the mess and taken stock, what do we now make of Ashton Agar’s noisy counter-pummel?

Well, we hate it, obviously. Not as much as when it was happening, but that’s only because in the absence of any definite ending, we were making wildly pessimistic projections and reacting to those. Many of those wild projections actually came true, so we then fell back on all our years of pessimistic experience and upped our game considerably until we were really, really, deeply unhappy.

What the hell happened?

Oh, you know, it was just one of those passages of play in an Ashes series where EVERYTHING GOES COMPLETELY TO SHIT.

With the added media scrutiny and tension from the crowd, the Ashes could almost be considered a different sport from conventional Test cricket. The physical stuff’s much the same, but the mental demands are entirely different.

Players with the perfect temperament for long, controlled innings or attritional bowling spells in front of sparse crowds can be rattled into incompetence when placed in an Ashes environment. At the same time, seemingly mediocre players can find themselves enhanced through a predisposition for fight rather than flight when they take a hit from their adrenal glands.

These changes in players can become magnified once they’re pitted against each other, but does even that explain what happened today? Maybe a little, but it’s not like England don’t have previous when it comes to this kind of thing.

Hats off to Ashton Agar?

Only briefly. We don’t want you succumbing to sun damage when there’s still so much unpredictable cricket to endure this summer.

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30 Appeals

  1. Fair play to the lad.

    If you’ll excuse two consecutive days of self- promotion, I’ve written another thing. I think this one is slightly better.

    http://learningisfunblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/the-ashes-first-test-day-2-start-the-agar/

    • King Cricket

      July 11, 2013 at 9:12 pm

      That article’s crying out for the phrase ‘slapped back’.

    • That article is disappointingly calm and balanced. Where are the hyperboles, Sam? Where are the wild predictions? This test so far spells doom, it does. Deconstruct each dismissal. Analyze ever spell. Arrive at an outlandish conclusion, like how test cricket is dying or how the Ashes so far proves BCCI is a bunch of assholes. Why did Bairstow’s face close? Is he so ugly the action is warranted? Why is Warner’s face not closing? That mustache IS ugly. So many questions, so many opportunities.

  2. It’s all a bit surreal but I have to say, he’s done that sort of thing for his state side, the Warriors, in his short first class career. It’s probably been excellent training for him coming out at 6 down for **** all so many times already.

  3. You’re right, KC. It was remiss of me to not include some slapping back. That’s why you’re the king and I am your apprentice. Not like The Apprentice, though.

  4. Agar’s heroics aside, England should win from here. I don’t see Australia scoring much batting last

    • Agree, but it must be a concern for English fans that since their rise through the rankings that they will still ‘go to sleep’ at least once early in a series against less fancied opponents and give them a chance of victory. Off the top of my head I can reel off half a dozen instances since the first test of the ashes in 2009 involving Australia, India, New Zealand and Sri Lanka where they have dozed off. If it hasn’t cost them the game it’s only because their opponents were too weak to capitalise fully.
      South Africa don’t suffer those kinds of brain fades with anything like the same frequency.

  5. Hats off to Ashton Agar. This raises a great many points and questions in my mind.

    Which England player should sacrifice his series by confronting and thumping Ashton Agar in the Nottingham City Centre bar where he is celebrating his success while wearing that ridiculous baggy green which he wears all the time at the moment? (I am assuming that AA takes his ID with him to prove that he is over 18 of course.)

    When Stuart Broad agrees to be that meaningless sacrifice for England, should Broad make his ludicrously childish and macho tweet about the Agar attack before or after the act?

    Also, being a right-handed bowler who bats left-handed, is it correct etiquette for Broad to use his right fist or his left fist for the thumping?
    Does his shoulder injury affect the “which fist” decision from a practical point of view, an etiquette point of view or both?

    Finally, the real “hats off to Ashton Agar” point – should the punch aim for the chin or the baggy grin? Or should Broad attempt a perfectly-directed upper cut that connects with the chin and removes the baggy green in one fell swoop?

  6. I don’t know much about decorating, but can you paper over the cracks in a wall that’s already half collapsed?

  7. KP and Cook gone.

    SHITTING BALLBAGS.

    I get the feeling there’s going to be some creative swearing over the next five weeks.

    Bumfingers.

    • Calm down man! We’ll have none of that talk here, I’ll thank you. There are weeks of this to live through yet, and you’re going all jibbery-jabbery on Day 3. Get one of your colleagues to give you a slap in the face. Better?

      What’s happening in this match is that neither side can move the game away from the knife-edge of uncertainty. England did, yesterday, before lunch, but then some idiot balanced it right back on the knife-edge again. We’ve had four consecutive we’ll-know-which-way-the-match-is-heading-at-the-end-of-this-session sessions, and in none of them did we find out which way the match was heading.

      This is an important session coming up. We’ll know which way the match is heading at the end of this session.

    • There goes Prior. Game, Set and Match, Australia.

    • For Jeff’s sake everyone! CALM DOWN! Everybody knows that the last four wickets in all test matches add at least 150 runs (source: yesterday). So that’s a lead of 300 odd, which we will defend with 10 runs to spare (assuming we reduce them to 7 for 9).

      Besides, when we lose this test match tomorrow lunchtime we’ve still got four more to go. And if there’s one thing that can be guaranteed, it’s that Ashton Agar probably won’t get 98 in all of them.

    • Bert IS the voice of reason here today.

      Gawd help us all b

  8. England will make a knee jerk reaction after this. Probably play bresnan in place of Finn next game. To strengthen the batting

  9. Apologies for the swears. I don’t know what came over me. The Ashes make people do funny things.

    Anyway, Ian Ronald Bell is proving the haters wrong once again. Much-maligned. Sometimes Malingad.

  10. If a bowler appeals when likely to be not out. Not much is said. But what’s the difference between appealing in hope and not walking when nicked it??

    • Not walking is an agnostic action. It isn’t asserting your not-outedness, it’s just leaving it to the umpires.

      If I were cynical, I’d suggest walking when you’re out and it’s not a critical juncture, to get umpires thinking you’re a “Walker”. Then, when you don’t walk, you’re less likely to be given out.

      As I saw mentioned on twitter though, Chris Broad didn’t walk even after he was given out. Like father, like son?

  11. Broad is a cheat, plain and simple–the only reason he is allowed to get away with such behavior is because of Pop Chris B. Disgraceful. Absolutely disgusted to see this–he played it off the face almost, and is he playing cricket?? I’m Indian, and while I used to like the Eng team, Broad is the main reason I’ve switched. I’m supporting Aus this Ashes. Burn in hell, Broad.

    • King Cricket

      July 12, 2013 at 6:41 pm

      Bit aggressive. We like a colourful alternative where strong emotions come into play.

      Try ‘simmer in heck’.

    • Weird that, ‘cos I’d say Broad exhibits the most Australian’ traits of anyone in this England side. Well, Australian toddler, perhaps.

      Do you think Steve Waugh or Allan Border would have walked?

    • True, strong words–but Broad combines mediocrity with insufferability. The Eng cap is frankly sullied by someone like that, w/ no great cricketing ability but questionable ethics. Waiting for the umpire’s decision when you are not sure is okay–but not when you know you hit it, blatantly knocked the ball off the face of the bat.

    • @Daneel, Clarke started to walk, then lingered when the umpire did not give him out. He promptly did leave the crease; and later apologized for hesitating. You will not get an apology from brat-cheat Broad.

    • Bullshit. I am no England fan, and am rooting for the Aussies. But not walking is not cheating, whether you feather it or it or knock the face off it. If you walk, then that’s great (whenever you do it, irrespective of whether you do it selectively according to the situation). If you don’t, then that’s fine, the umpire is there for a reason. It is NOT CHEATING.

      I hate this stupid thing being framed as a debate. Its plain and simple and there are no two sides to it. There are a lot of more interesting things to talk about. Like the fact that Broad is a twat in general. And so his is dad.

  12. Here’s an interesting thing (perhaps). Not really relevant to today, though.

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=11;team=1;template=results;type=batting

    See how close Mr Pietersen is to being England’s record run scorer in international cricket.

  13. Great stuff, Daneel. Look how long Gooch played for. 20 years! That sort of thing will probably never be seen again.

    • To be fair, Gooch was either sulking, dropped, or banned for about half of those 20 years.

      Tendulkar is in his 24th year of international cricket.

    • Incidentally, the crying shame here is that Collingwood was dropped right before he became England’s most capped player ever, and just before he passed 10000 international runs.

      For a man who was perpetually out of form, and looked crap even when he wasn’t, he had one hell of a career. I’d take vintage Colly back like a shot over Bairstow and co. In fact, I’d take Colly today.

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