It was always going to be a tall order for the home side to take 20 wickets in a day-and-a-half when play finally resumed on Saturday, but six wickets by the close yesterday had raised hopes. Missing four catches of varying difficulty on the final day did not help their cause.
“The wicket probably didn’t play exactly as we would have thought, hoping it would have broken up a bit more, spun a bit more,” he said. “Don’t know how much of that is a misread, how much of it was the weather of the last few days and not full days of traffic. Probably wasn’t a classic India wicket we might expect.”
There was a nod to the forthcoming India tour when Agar was given the new ball in the second innings but he struggled for consistency. Two further short spells followed as the game drifted to the draw with Cummins saying this match had never been a test-bed for India tour selection.
“He’ll absolutely be there,” Cummins said. “It wasn’t an audition at all, this wicket was a bit different to India. Wasn’t really spinning out of the middle of the wicket. Sometimes an Indian wicket really breaks up from the middle of the wicket and the left-arm orthodox becomes a bit more effective against right-hand batters. Thought he did really well, there were…three [four] wickets for spin for the game. Wasn’t easy for him but thought he did his role really well.”
Coach Andrew McDonald has previously admitted there’s a bit of a leap into the unknown given Agar’s lack of first-class cricket over recent years. This was just his fourth first-class match since 2021 and with the BBL currently taking place there won’t be any further red-ball opportunity before the squad departs in late January.
“Think we’ve given ourselves the best chance,” he said. “[It was] another fantastic summer…the way our batting group has stood up has been fantastic. Other than this game in a shortened time frame we’ve been able to get 20 wickets each Test in different circumstances. Feel like we are adapting really well, having the experience of Pakistan and Sri Lanka last year has put us in really good stead knowing no one is going in blind. Think we’re as good a chance as we’ve ever been.”
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