4 instances of significant ‘batting contribution’ by No 11 batsman in Test matches : Runs scored off the bat by a player in any position goes a long way in adding to the team’s total tally. More often than not, those contributions could make a difference between a victory and a defeat for a team.
However, if a sizable contribution is made by a batsman batting at No 11, then it proves to be the ‘icing on the cake’.
Let us take a look into four such instances where the batting talent of a No 11 batsman has gone on to pull the team out of dire straits.
1. 98 runs by Ashton Agar for Australia in July 2013
The 2013 Ashes Series will remain etched in memory for quite a few reasons. One of them is the significant contribution with the bat made by Australia’s No 11 batsman, Ashton Charles Agar, who made his debut,, that provided some respectability to their first innings score.
The first Test of the series was played at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, between 10th July, 2013 & 14th July, 2013. Winning the toss, England skipper, Alistair Cook, decided to bat. With not a single batsman scoring a half-century, the closest being Jonathan Trott with 48 runs off deliveries with the help of 9 fours, England finished their first innings at 215 runs.
Peter Siddle was the most successful bowler for Australia who returned with the figure of 14-4-50-5. Aussies did not have a good start. They were struggling at 53 runs for the loss of 4 wickets when Phil Hughes walked into join the Steven Smith.
The young duo batted well to put on a 53-run partnership for the 5th wicket. After scoring a 79-ball 53 runs, with the help of 7 fours and a solitary six, Smith departed at the team score of 108/5.
With half the team back in the hut, Phil Hughes just had the company of the wicket-keeper and the tail-enders. They were still trailing by 107 runs.Getting not much of a help and having to do bulk of the scoring, Hughes found himself completely stranded and the team reeling at 117 runs for the loss of 9 wickets.
It is at this juncture that the then 19 year old debutant, Ashton Agar walked into the middle to give company to Phil Hughes. Every cricket connoisseur worth his salt would have expected the innings to finish in a couple of overs, at the most.
But what followed was a stubborn young Aussie at No 11, matching ‘shot by shot’ with the other youngster in the middle. None of the English bowlers could intimidate this young man, playing his first international game and at a position where any other batsman would hardly be able to block the ball, let alone scoring.
Agar played as if he was a seasoned batsman with very good technique. He provided a very good support to Hughes. They both went on to register a 163-run partnership for the 10th wicket which was a world record at that point in time. Australia went on to finish their first innings at 280 runs, thereby taking a lead of 65 runs.
While Phil Hughes remained unbeaten at 81* runs off 131 deliveries aided by 9 fours, Ashton Agar, batting for 134 minute, facing 101 deliveries scored 98 runs with the help of 12 fours and 2 sixes. He missed a century by a whisker. This is the highest score by a No 11 batsman in Test matches, thus far. Even though Australia lost this Test match, Ashton’s contribution is commendable. England went 1-0 up in the series.
In fact, the Australian legend, Glenn Mcgrath handed over the ‘baggy green’ to the youngster. Commenting on the radio, McGrath had said, “I thought that I was presenting a baggy green to a bowler.”