Fast bowler Wes Agar says the Covid-19-changed world has taught him to “expect the unexpected” – perhaps even including him top-scoring for Australia in a one-day international.
A late inclusion in the Australian team for the injured Josh Hazlewood in the delayed game two of the ODI series against the West Indies in Barbados, Agar contributed a valuable 41 to help his side recover from a disastrous 6-45 to reach 187.
While it wasn’t enough to prevent a four-wicket, series-levelling West Indies win, No.10 batsman Agar relished the challenge of “rising to the occasion” in just his second ODI to ensure his country made a game of it.
“I have self-confidence in my batting and in myself,” Agar said.
“I think it’s rising to the occasion. Playing for Australia, you’re forced to better, you’re forced to train more and think more about the game.
“Being in this environment has really helped me develop in my batting area, and therefore has allowed me to then go out and do what I did today.
“It’s rising to the environment and being a product of being around great players.”
Wes Agar hits a boundary during his innings of 41. Picture: Randy Brooks / AFPSource:AFP
Agar had less of an impact with the ball, going wicketless in five overs and conceding 24 runs as the Windies survived an early Mitch Starc (3-26 from 10 overs) onslaught and some impressive leg-spin bowling from Adam Zampa (2-43 from nine overs) to send the series to a decider at Kensington Oval on Tuesday (AEST).
The Australians, who had the Windies at 2-11 and later 5-72, were made to pay for some poor fielding.
Moises Henriques and Matthew Wade both dropped Windies’ top-scorer Nicholas Pooran (59 not out), whose sixth-wicket partnership of 93 with Jason Holder (52) decided the match.
“When you have a low total on the board you’ve got to take every chance, and we unfortunately we didn’t do that,” Agar said.
“Who knows what would have happened if we’d taken that wicket when Pooran’s on less runs? But you can’t say it’s a deciding factor in game as well.”
Despite Sunday having being deemed a resumption of play following the postponement of play on Friday just before the start of play due to a member of the West Indies support staff testing positive for Covid-19, Australia was allowed to replace Hazlewood with Agar.
A spokesman from the Australian said Hazlewood had a minor calf injury recently and was “being managed due to his history of soft tissue injuries and 36 hours in a hotel room”.
Agar said being forced to isolate in a hotel room in the lead-up to Sunday’s game was challenging.
“It was definitely a different experience, one that I’ve never had before but I guess in these Covid times, you’ve got to expect the unexpected and it’s become the new normal now,” he said.
Meanwhile, batsman Ben McDermott might be ruled out of Tuesday’s match after injuring his ankle on advertising material on Sunday.
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