Cricket Australia Items/news/2013/7/10/agar-set-to-debut

Agar makes Test debut

UPDATED 10 July, 2013 7:54PM AEST | by AAP

Australia have dropped one of the biggest bombshells in Ashes history, by selecting 19-year-old Ashton Agar to make his Test debut at Trent Bridge.

England captain Alastair Cook won the toss and elected to bat first on what's been described as a dry Nottingham wicket.

The West Australian spinner was originally picked as a development player for the Ashes, but comes in at the expense of Nathan Lyon.

In a further selection surprise, Steve Smith was picked to bat at No.6, with David Warner dropped.

Australian captain Michael Clarke said Agar wasn't a shock in his eyes.

"Not to us - he's bowled really well since coming into the tour," he said.

"He performed really well in the practice match. England have a lot of right-hand batters and we think he can help us take 20 wickets."

Clarke admitted a lack of match practice cost Warner, who was suspended for throwing a drunken punch at England's Joe Root last month in a Birmingham nightclub.

"I think it's obviously hard when you've had no match practice," said Clarke.

 "He's been batting in the nets but he hasn't played any games. We think this XI can win this first Test."

Clarke admitted he would have batted first if he'd won the toss.

Conditions are a little overcast for the opening morning, and Clarke is hopeful his pace attack can find some swing early.

"I would have batted if I won the toss but don't mind bowling. It's overcast and there will be a bit of swing early," Clarke said.

The Australians were determined to keep their final XI a secret until the toss, and it's fair to say England will be surprised by Agar's inclusion.

Agar and Smith played on the Australia A tour and were only called into the Ashes squad at the last minute.

Originally, the pair were only guaranteed to stay in camp until the start of the second Test, but new coach Darren Lehmann made it clear the pair would stay on for the duration of the tour.

Agar was presented with his cap by Test great Glenn McGrath.

Australia: Shane Watson, Chris Rogers, Ed Cowan, Michael Clarke (capt), Phil Hughes, Steve Smith, Brad Haddin (vice-capt), Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Ashton Agar

England: Alastair Cook (capt), Joe Root, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Jonny Bairstow, Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Steven Finn, James Anderson.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 10 July, 2013 7:35PM AEST

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