Cook and Pietersen lead England's recovery from Agar's test-changing 98

Trent Bridge

Ben Nancholas writes on Day Two of the second test.

A packed 17,000 Trent Bridge eagerly awaited the start of day two of the Investec Ashes. Day one saw 14 wickets with England hoping for much of the same at the start of play.

With the chorus of Jerusalem waiting the players arrival and a sun drenched pitched, England could not call on any demons for Jimmy Anderson to summon.

The day started slowly for England with Steve Smith and Phil Hughes batting with typical Aussie guile reaching 100 runs for Baggy Greens in no time.

With the flat pitch England were rewarded with line and length bowling taking the wicket of Steve Smith edging a delivery from Anderson for a well-constructed 53. The wicket of Smith startled the Aussies and swung the battle hardened England attack into action sensing more Aussie blood. As soon as Australia had time to compose Brad Hadden found himself out thought by Spinner Graeme Swann for 1.

England looked dangerous with every ball, conventional swing all but abandoning the hosts reverse swing was the order of the day, like craftsmen at the top of their trade England worked on the ball roughing it up at every opportunity.

It paid off with the wicket of Siddle thanks to Mr Reliable Jimmy Anderson. Not even an hour of play had elapsed at which point Australia had found themselves trapped down a proverbial well that even Skippy could not get them out of. Australia 114-7.

Starc (0) soon followed Siddle back in the shed with Jimmy Anderson getting the ball to reverse into Starc finding his edge giving wicket keeper Matt Prior an easy catch. Pattinson who not long ago was courted by England’s elite thanks to an English grandmother found himself a victim to a superb delivery by Swann leaving Australia 117-9.

As the number 11 walked down from the pavilion the England players must have fancied their chances to wrap up the innings in no time. The 19 year old took guard with the assurance of a seasoned international test player.

Agar quickly showed he could bat much higher up in this somewhat fragile Australian batting line up with composed stroke play and some out of this world shots akin to the mould of our very own KP. His partnership with the ever improving Phil Hughes was proving critical for England. England where flat lining with Agar scoring at almost a run a ball and Hughes taking a back seat allowing Agar to take the strike at every opportunity.

The hosts were growing increasingly desperate and resulted in peppering the young Agar with bouncers in anger rather than a tactical change. With Agar on 98 he already became the highest scorer at number 11 for Australia and looked certain to make test history by becoming the first ever number 11 to make a century until a mistimed pull shot off Stuart Broad found Graeme Swann at deep mid-wicket.

His sublime 101-ball knock – which included 12 fours and two sixes – meant the Aussies reached 280 all out something which was unthinkable earlier in the day.

England had it all to do and had the worst possible start with Joe Root and Jonathon Trott falling cheaply to the left arm bowling of Mitchell Starc. Albeit as a result of some suspect umpiring as Trott had felt he got an inside edge, but the side-on hotspot camera was unavailable after been needed by television for Joe Root's decision not to review his wicket after it appeared he had not got an inside edge after all.

It was up to Cook and Pietersen to stabilise the innings and they did exactly that with the pitch resembling something you would find in the sub-continent they played with solid defensive techniques leaving the majority of deliveries.

At the close of play England led by 15 runs. I certainly wouldn’t like to call which way this will go.

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