By Matthew Sherry at the Emirates Durham ICG and Chris Devine
Chris Rogers struck his maiden Test century at the age of 35 to leave Australia on top in the fourth Ashes encounter.
Rogers showed a mettle that has often been absent in Australia’s batting recently to rescue the tourists from 76 for four after England had been dismissed for 238.
Well supported by Shane Watson, whose move to number six paid immediate dividends as he hit 68, the opener closed on 101 not out having helped Australia to 222 for five – just 16 behind – when bad light cut proceedings short slightly early.
The duo’s efforts ultimately overshadowed those of Stuart Broad, who looked to be swinging proceedings decisively in England’s favour when claiming three wickets with the new ball; he eventually ended with figures of 4-48.
It was Broad’s performance, though, that made Rogers’ innings all the more impressive.
On a surface suddenly offering sideways movement aplenty under overcast skies, the left-hander showed great discipline and no less skill.
There were some moments of fortune; he survived two reviews – one called by England and the other himself to overturn a caught-behind verdict – a half-chance on 49 when Graeme Swann put down a one-handed, diving effort and was beaten several times by Broad.
Yet it could be argued that he gave himself the opportunity to enjoy good luck by combining great patience with an ability to play the ball late.
Confident on the drive and comfortable working anything too straight to leg, Rogers has been very much as advertised in this series: a steady opener boasting an ability to leave that has been sorely lacking for Australia.
A surprise, and perhaps unfashionable, selection, his second five-day appearance at Trent Bridge in this series came over five years after his debut against India.
But the sound judgement and class he has shown suggests such a delay has been to Australia’s detriment.
Indeed, today’s action may have been very different without him.
Rogers could only watch on as early wickets tumbled due to a mixture of helpful conditions, poor shot selection and fine bowling after Jackson Bird had given Australia the perfect start to the day; the paceman nipped one back in the second over to bowl James Anderson and ensure England did not add to their overnight 238 for nine.
David Warner, having swapped positions with Watson, did not find batting against the new ball to his liking, Broad finding the top of off stump after beating the batsman for pace.
Buoyed by grabbing a first scalp, the paceman suddenly seemed set to indulge his penchant for wicket-laden spells.
Moving the ball both ways, he would have posed a challenge to any batsman.
There was a hint of inevitability, therefore, about the departure of the out-of-form and out-of-luck Usman Khawaja, who inside-edged one that nipped back behind.
While his dismissal owed much to Broad’s excellence, the same could not be said for Michael Clarke’s.
Tempted by a delivery floated up outside off stump, Australia’s skipper played a reckless drive and ultimately edged to Alastair Cook at first slip.
At that point, a collapse appeared on the cards – a belief that was only enhanced when Steven Smith feathered Tim Bresnan behind after the interval.
Ironically, however, Watson found a sound defensive technique that was sometimes lacking when he opened the batting in this rubber.
Clearly trying to rein in his natural instincts, he at times wavered when wafting outside off stump. However, it was a largely risk-free approach that moved Watson on to his first half-century of 2013.
The expansive strokes he began to unfurl thereafter, highlighted by a crunching straight-driven four off Anderson, appeared ominous for England.
But, as has often been the case in his career, he failed to kick on to a significant contribution, inside-edging a leg-side delivery from Broad to Matt Prior.
Attention then turned to Rogers’ quest for three figures.
Nineteen painstaking deliveries from Swann, including a couple that narrowly beat bat and stumps, followed the crisp, cover-driven four that moved him to 96.
There was arguably more relief than celebration, therefore, when Rogers swept for four to become the second-oldest Australian, after Arthur Richardson in 1926, to record a first Test hundred.
The lack of exuberance also hinted at a man unwilling to settle for just a century, which should make for a fascinating contest in the morning.
Australia 1st Innings
6pm – STUMPS! And we’re done for the day! Join us tomorrow to see if England can respond to Rogers’ heroics.
5:53pm – BAD LIGHT STOPS PLAY – Australia 222/5; Rogers 101, Haddin 12 – With no third man in place, Haddin opens the face and collects four more off the returning Bresnan. There may not be any more runs scored today, however, as the light has deteriorated.
5:47pm – Haddin has looked to attack Swann throughout this series and clubs the spinner over the leg-side infield for his first four. We can play up until 6:30pm tonight and are likely to do so with 12 overs still to be bowled.
5:40pm – CENTURY! Rogers (227b 13×4 0x6) – Even the most passionate England fan would be hard pressed not to feel happy for Chris Rogers right now. Twenty-one days short of his 36th birthday and after a torturous wait on 96, he sweeps Swann for four to bring up a well-deserved hundred. Well played sir.
5:33pm – The nerves increase for Rogers as Swann finds sharp spin to beat the bat. Brad Haddin is the new man at the crease.
5:29pm – WICKET! Watson c Prior b Broad 68; Aus 205/5 – And a change of ends works for Broad. Watson again fails to convert a fifty into a century; he is strangled down the leg side to give England a welcome breakthrough!
5:27pm – Broad is back after drinks with the second new ball 12 overs away. Rogers is still on 96…
5:13pm – Rogers gets in a tangle facing Swann and almost loops up a catch to mid-on. There are nerves aplenty on the Australia team balcony. They know how much a hundred would mean to the opener.
5:10pm – Watson plays another confident stroke off the front foot, this time down the ground off Anderson. England have struggled to build pressure in this session thus far and a full toss from Swann allows Rogers to find the cover fence and reach 96.
4:59pm – Watson almost undoes his hard work by driving loosely at a wide delivery when James Anderson enters the attack. Thankfully for Australia, the ball narrowly missed bat on its way through to Prior. In Anderson’s next over, Watson connects crisply with a drive and beats the fielder at cover. Rogers is into the nineties now.
4:49pm – Swann draws Rogers forward and beats the edge. Matt Prior appeals enthusiastically for a stumping, but replays show the batsman just about got his foot back in time.
4:43pm – CENTURY PARTNERSHIP! Swann concedes four as a late cut from Rogers beats the diving fielder at backward point. Watson then collects another leg-side single to take this valuable stand into three figures.
4:35pm – FIFTY! Watson (98b 5×4 0x6) – Graeme Swann takes over from Broad at the Finchale End and immediately poses a couple of problems for Rogers. Shane Watson has looked solid since tea and moves to 50 with an easy single to deep square-leg off Bresnan. Australia are now only 68 behind.
4:25pm – Bresnan drops short to Rogers, who pulls through midwicket for four off the front foot. An overthrow at the start of the next over gets the veteran back on strike and he defends solidly against Broad either side of England questioning whether the ball has gone out of shape.
4:16pm – This is now the biggest partnership of the match, surpassing the second-wicket alliance of 73 between Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott for England. There is still movement there for England’s seamers and Broad finds more than enough when angling a delivery across Rogers.
4:09pm – Stuart Broad, England’s most threatening bowler today, resumes his battle with Chris Rogers. For the second game in succession, the left-handed opener has moved within sight of a maiden Test hundred. Will he get there on this occasion?
4pm – The tourists resume 90 behind and Tim Bresnan has the ball in his hand.
3:40pm – TEA – Australia 148/4; Rogers 71, Watson 38 – Swann ends the afternoon session with a maiden. This has been a good fightback from Australia.
3:36pm – Watson, likely desperate to not live up to his reputation as someone who makes starts but fails to go on, punishes a short-and-wide Bresnan delivery with a powerful cut.
3:31pm – It’s all gone a little quiet following the early drama. England continue to plug away, but Rogers and Watson are playing responsibly.
3:18pm – Ah, that’s not so “good”. Watson greets a juicy half-volley with a crunch to the point fence.
3:08pm – England turn to Jonathan Trott and just as a colleague says “he’ll get a wicket”, the medium pacer… beats Rogers with a beauty. Good stuff.
2:53pm – Despite the gloom at the Emirates Durham ICG, it appears Australia have just weathered the storm a little here, Watson showing intent when pulling Anderson over midwicket for a second successive leg-side boundary.
2:35pm – The probing bowling continues, yet Rogers and Watson are battling away.
2:13pm – FIFTY! Rogers (87b 8×4 0x6) – Exhibition stuff from Broad, who continues to beat Rogers. The opener remains just about, reaching 50 when edging the paceman to second slip – where Graeme Swann shells a nigh-on impossible, one-handed diving effort.
2:09pm – MISSED CHANCE! – Bresnan, who is backing Broad up exceptionally, almost grabs a wicket when shelling a difficult, one-handed return chance off Shane Watson.
1:59pm – Broad keeps up the pressure when sending down a wonderful over, during which he beats Chris Rogers numerous times.
1:47pm – WICKET! Smith c Prior b Bresnan 17; Australia 76/4 – Tim Bresnan gets in on the act, finding some movement away to take Smith’s edge; Matt Prior did the rest.
1:46pm – Stuart Broad is unsurprisingly given the first over after the interval, which Steven Smith sees out without scoring.
1pm – LUNCH – Australia 75/3 – Rogers 41, Smith 17 – Rogers and Smith look comfortable in taking Australia to lunch. The latter settled in very quickly and England will be keen to see the back of him early in the afternoon session. Broad’s three breakthroughs have left the game intriguingly poised.
12:52pm – Steven Smith gets going by clipping and guiding Anderson for fours either side of Rogers doing likewise to a Swann full toss.
12:30pm – WICKET! Clarke c Cook b Broad 6; Australia 49/3 – Broad is on fire and the crowd are loving it! He probably deserved a third, although it was a dreadful shot from Clarke that brought it. Australia’s skipper drove wildly outside off stump and edged to first slip, where Alastair Cook took a sharp chance above his head.
12:24pm – Broad is back in the groove after a brief drinks break interrupts the drama. He beats Rogers with another cracking delivery before seeing an optimistic lbw appeal against Clarke turned down a couple of overs later.
12:03pm – REVIEW! – Well, it’s all happening! After being crunched to the fence through point, Broad nips one away and Rogers is given out caught behind. The batsman utilises the Decision Review System, which shows he did not hit it. The third umpire also asks to look at whether it’s out lbw and England’s players celebrate as the big screen shows the ball clipping off stump. However, as he was given caught, Rogers is reprieved because it is umpire’s call and Tony Hill did not initially raise the finger for lbw. Hope that explains it!
11:56am – REVIEW! – Broad, who is getting plenty of movement, raps Rogers on the pad and appeals loudly. Umpire Tony Hill turns down the appeal and sees his decision vindicated when it goes upstairs. Earlier, the opener struck Anderson for two successive fours, while Clarke got off the mark with an inside edge to the boundary.
11:45am – WICKET! Khawaja c Prior b Broad 0; Australia 12/2 – You know when Broad gets on one of those rolls he loves? I have a feeling we may be at the start of another. Usman Khawaja, who never looked comfortable, attempts an expansive drive and inside-edges behind.
11:36am – WICKET! Warner b Broad 3; Australia 12/1 – And just as I say that, his partner in crime gets the first breakthrough! Stuart Broad, following the old adage, targets and hits the top of off stump; it seemed Warner was just beaten for pace.
11:34am – Jackson Bird’s dismissal of Anderson prompted some anticipation that there could be some movement for England’s bowlers. There is not too much in evidence thus far, although Anderson is causing his share of problems.
11:26am – James Anderson gets off to a good start when inducing an edge from Rogers that falls just short of slip. It will be interesting to see if and when Warner, promoted up the order, starts to open his shoulders.
11:20am – The England guys have quickly changed into their whites and we’re ready to go again. Chris Rogers and David Warner are opening up for Australia.
England 1st Innings
11:08am – WICKET! Anderson b Bird 16; England 238 all out – And he cleans him up two balls later. A beauty from Bird nips back and uproots middle stump.
11:06am – A maiden from Peter Siddle gets us under way as Tim Bresnan sees a couple of booming drives fielded. In the next over, Jackson Bird hits James Anderson and we’re going to have a delay while the batsman waits for a new lid.
10:59am – While you’re waiting for the action, check out what Jonathan Trott had to say about yesterday’s action.
10:52am – For Australia, of course, the target is to avoid that at all costs and wrap up the hosts’ innings quickly. We’ll find out if they can do that momentarily.
10:34am – All eyes this morning will be on England’s last pair of Tim Bresnan and James Anderson, who will hope to add as many runs as possible.
10:20am – Good morning and welcome to ecb.co.uk’s live coverage of the fourth Investec Ashes Test. Australia had the better of proceedings yesterday, restricting England to 238 for nine. Can Alastair Cook’s men hit back at the Emirates Durham ICG?
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