When Ashton Agar's Test debut at The Ashes 2013 began, few spectators at Trent Bridge were ready to anoint the 19-year-old cricketer as the future of the Australian national team.
There might be more a lot more now after his performance against England.
The teenager took down several records on Thursday, including an all-time best at his position in the lineup. Agar became the first debutant to score a 50 during his maiden innings and came just two runs shy of becoming the first No. 11 to put a century mark on the board in a Test match.
ESPN's Stats & Info had the tweet to confirm:
He would have to settle for 98 runs off 101 balls, still good for the all-time No. 11 record that West Indian Tino Best secured against England in 2012.
And yet, the record-breaking afternoon was just another chapter in the 19-year-old's rise to stardom.
As Tom Cary of The Telegraph reported on Wednesday, there was a buzz around Agar that had nothing to do with predicting he would strong-arm a world record during his Australian Test debut.
Called up from Henley Cricket Club to Australia, his teammates at Brakspear Ground were anything but surprised that he was getting a shot to star in Test cricket just weeks after his last appearance in the modest confines of the Home Counties Premier League.
Cary's report mentioned David Barnes and Bjorn Mordt as two of Henley's men who were not shocked that Agar was making the quick leap. Hailing his maturity and mind for the game at a young age, the Henley captain and vice-captain were quick to praise Agar's talent and poise as reasons for his epic transition.
Agar didn't disappoint on Thursday.
Taking over with Australia facing a major deficit, Agar put on a batting clinic that featured 12 fours and two sixes.
He and partner Phil Hughes would post the highest 10th wicket partnership (163) in Test history and allow Australia to take a first-innings lead of 65 after England had dominated the first part of the match.
Although England would regain the lead by the end of the third day's play, Agar's surge with the bat stole the show at Trent Bridge on Thursday. As ESPN's Tanya Aldred said after the scoring spree was over, things will never be the same for the young man again.
That doesn't mean others didn't know he had it in him.
Mordt jumped on for The Telegraph shortly after the match was over, again pledging his support for his former teammate. He cited Agar's lack of arrogance and strong batting abilities as reasons why his jaw didn't drop quite as far as those in attendance on Thursday.
Jaws would drop, though.
Greg Norman's was among them, as the Aussie posted on Twitter about his country's newest cricket star and the mark he's already making on the sport:
As you can see from this comical tweet from Simon Thomsen, Agar isn't a kid anymore:
When you look at Agar's Thursday performance at surface level, of course the record-breaking day is a surprise. Trailing England and making his debut in poor circumstances, Agar overcame steep odds and rebounded to post the best score ever from the No. 11 position.
Dig deeper, and you'll find a cricketer who has been waiting to break out. All he needed was a chance, and after the events of The Ashes so far, the smart bet would be on Agar getting more chances at higher spots in the Australia lineup.
Maybe the biggest tell that Agar's performance wasn't surprising was his demeanor after it was over.
Quietly taking his helmet off, looking around Trent Bridge and flashing a boyish smile, he managed to make light of what he had accomplished with an "oh well, there's always tomorrow to break more records" facial expression.
Get ready for a big dosage of Agar in the Test cricket spotlight. After Thursday, that statement should be a surprise to no one anymore.
Follow B/R's Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter.
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