Ashes - KP and Cook begin England's recovery after Agar's heroics

Stumps, day two, Trent Bridge: England (280 and 80-2 from 43 overs: Cook 37*, Pietersen 35*) lead Australia (280 from 64.5 overs: Agar 98, Hughes 81*, Smith 53 / Anderson 5-85) by 15 runs.

Ashes - KP and Cook begin England's recovery after Agar's heroics

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England's captain Alastair Cook (L) and Kevin Pietersen leave the field at the end of the day's play in the first Ashes cricket test match against Australia at Trent Bridge cricket ground in Nottingham, England July 11, 2013 (Reuters)


- England spark Australia collapse from 108-4 to 117-9

- James Anderson completes 14th five-wicket haul in Tests

- Teenager Ashton Agar (98) scores highest Test score by a number 11 on his debut as Australia fashion shock lead of 65 runs [Read: Reaction as Agar misses out on ton]

- Root and Trott out in successive balls – both with an element of controversy [Read: Did Sky gaffe cost Trott his wicket?]

- Cook and Pietersen steady ship and move England into narrow lead

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Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook saw England to stumps on a day when teenager Ashton Agar stole the show in the first Test.

The hosts edged 15 runs in front as they began their second innings, but both sides had spells where it had looked like the match had swung decisively their way.

England had reduced Australia to 117 for nine, only for Australia to set the Test record for the final wicket of 163 runs, led by Agar's 98, the highest score by a number 11 in Test history.

When they removed both Trott and Root at tea it looked like they had taken over, but Cook (37 not out) and Pietersen (35 not out) played obdurately to see England through a relatively sedate final session without loss.

Their stand was far from flashy - Cook favoured his trademark clips into midwicket and drives through square and the covers, while Pietersen applied himself to the situation, only occasionally reminding the crowd of his flamboyant skills with a trio of sumptuous straight drives.

Though England are effectively 15 for two, the match remains in the balance. The pitch was not as dangerous in the sunshine, and the Australians could not extract the same levels of reverse swing which had seen James Anderson bag a five-wicket haul earlier.

England have plenty of time to bat themselves into a commanding position and their two most experienced batsmen at the crease when day three begins.

But these two days have already witnessed some chaotic batting failures and some passages of play that have broken records and defied belief, so it would take a brave man to predict what twists the match will take next.

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England (280 and 11-2 from 7.4 overs) trail Australia (280 from 64.5 overs: Agar 98, Hughes 81*, Smith 53 / Anderson 5-85) by 54 runs.

Teenage Ashton Agar scored the highest innings by a number 11 of 98 in Test cricket - in his debut innings for Australia.

Agar, just 19 years old and a shock pick for Australia in this Test, came in with his side reeling at 117 for nine, and partnered Phil Hughes to a match-changing stand.

And despite falling short of a century, it left England still reeling, as Mitchell Starc struck with two wickets in two balls to leave the hosts tottering at 11 for two at tea.

Agar and Hughes' tenth-wicket partnership of 163 runs is the highest in the 136-year and 2090-matches long history of Test cricket.

Agar's knock is what will be remembered though - he eclipsed the previous record for a number 11 of 95, set by Tino Best against England just one year ago, but could not carry on to a century.

It looked as if he would reach it when he launched at a short ball from Stuart Broad, but despite a clean hit Graeme Swann was lurking in the deep to deny him even more history.

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He might easily have been given out stumped on six - third umpire Marais Erasmus turned down England's appeal - but took full advantage of that slice of luck to play a fluent, effortless knock that will live long in the memory of those who saw it.

England began patiently, but Australia burst into life on the stroke of tea. Root was strangled down the leg-side by Starc for five (later Snickometer evidence suggested he had not made contact with the ball), before Trott went first ball to a leg-before decision, successfully reviewed after Umpire Aleem Dar gave him not out on the field of play.

It was a tough call, as the footage pointed to a possible deflection via the bat. Again, England will feel they have not had the rub of the decisions in this Test.

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Australia (229-9 from 55 overs: Agar 69*, Hughes 63*, Smith 53 / Anderson 5-70) lead England (215) by 14 runs.

Agar turned around Australian fortunes after England ripped through the middle order on day two of the first Test at Trent Bridge.

James Anderson’s five-wicket haul, backed up by Swann, looked to have secured a huge first-innings lead for the hosts, but a final-wicket stand dragged Australia not only back into the contest but into a first-innings lead by lunch.

They were indebted to Agar, who on debut managed the highest score by an Australian number 11 in Test cricket. He is unlikely to have the chance to better it – with a series of correct strokes and confident play he will surely never bat so low again.

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Hughes, naturally an attacking, aggressive batsman, found himself playing the anchor role instead, but their record stand turned the Test on its head for the second time in a thrilling extended session.

Australia, resuming at 75 for four, began solidly in the sunshine. The pronounced swing on an overcast day one had disappeared, and Steve Smith and Hughes seemed quite happy accumulating.

Stuart Broad returned to the field, declared fit after a blow to the shoulder yesterday, but not called upon to bowl for more than two hours. It was an odd decision – Broad could be seen wincing as he threw the ball in, and seemed likely only to risk aggravating his injury.

It didn’t appear as if it would matter, however, as the ball began to reverse swing and Anderson came into his own.

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Shortly after Smith posted the first half-century of the match, he was dismissed, driving loosely and edging behind.

Brad Haddin came in and then got out, beaten by a ball from Swann which span sharply and bowled him through the gate.

Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc were both caught by Matt Prior off the bowling of Anderson – though not before each had been dropped. With their combined tally of one run, it did not matter greatly.

James Pattinson managed two before Swann trapped him leg-before, meaning Australia had lost five wickets for nine runs.

It might have seemed rash for Australia to hope that a 19-year-old number 11 on debut would dig them out of trouble, but that’s exactly what Agar achieved.

Batting in care-free fashion, he showed why he’s already averaging in excess of 30 at first-class level with confident, fluent strokes.

Steven Finn fed him short balls and was repeatedly dispatched, while Swann was hit straight back down the ground for a six. England, staring at a lead of almost 100 at one point, saw their advantage whittled down bit by bit, until the Australians nudged into a lead by lunch.

They will doubtless rue a stumping not given against him when Agar had just six runs to his name. From side-on it looked clear that Agar’s foot had left the crease – the view from the stump camera in his shadows was less certain. Third umpire Marais Erasmus erred on the side of caution – and that decision has kept Australia firmly in the game.

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