Nottingham: The only indication that Ashton Agar was a tailender, as he walked off Trent Bridge on Thursday having been dismissed for a world-record 98 for a No. 11 batsman, was the fact he was able to smile about falling two runs short of a century.
"It was a dream to make a test match hundred," Agar admitted. "But I didn't really dream I'd make 98 so I'm very happy." (Also see: Ashton Agar - a photo feature)
Australia was 117-9 on day two of the first test, still 98 runs behind England when the 19-year-old debutant Agar joined Phillip Hughes at the wicket.
The tourists had lost five wickets for nine runs in 32 balls and fast bowler James Anderson was looking unplayable, but a world-record stand of 163 for the final wicket with Hughes, 81 not out, transformed the contest.
"I'm super happy," Agar said. "I was lucky to have a very good partner at the other end to help me, he's a seriously, seriously good player." (Also read: Ashes Day 2 report)
Six weeks ago, Agar was playing club cricket for Henley in Oxfordshire but although he'd played only 10 first-class matches before this test, he had scored an unbeaten 71 for Western Australia against Tasmania in Perth and his average of 33.6 suggested he was anything but a rabbit.
His selection as Australia's lone spinner ahead of Nathan Lyon was a major surprise, and his first ball in test cricket was a full toss that was swatted for four by Jonathan Trott.
Subsequent figures of 16-4-53-0 were unspectacular and Agar was asked if he would swap a test hundred for a five-wicket haul.
"I'd take either one but I didn't get the hundred so I'd take the five-for now," he joked. "I've been called into the side to take wickets and I'm still very, very hungry for that first wicket. I see myself as a bowling allrounder."
Agar could arguably have been given out to Graeme Swann when he was on 6, after a stumping was referred to the third umpire. He didn't seem to have any of his back foot behind the crease, but replays were inconclusive and he was given the benefit of the doubt by Marais Erasmus.
That aside, Agar's innings was almost chanceless and it was only when he entered the nervous 90s that he looked like getting out.
After twice swishing at Stuart Broad he finally holed out and was caught on the boundary by Swann, but even England's supporters were disappointed and Agar admitted he hadn't expected the standing ovation he was given.
"I was surprised, yes. I probably hit it a bit too well. All the other balls I'd hit over the top so I tried to come down a little bit and I picked him out perfectly."
Agar's parents were told of his selection on Monday and flown from Melbourne in time to see him presented him with his cap.
"He's always been a very level-headed young man," his mother Sonia Agar told the BBC. "When he hit that shot I thought it was going for four, but it didn't matter, he'd done his job."