Chester-le-Street - Chris Rogers's maiden Test century took Australia to within sight of a
first-innings lead when bad light forced an early close to the second day of
the fourth Ashes Test.
Australia were 222 for five at stumps, 16 runs behind England's first
innings 238, with 35-year-old left-handed opener Rogers 101 not out and Brad
Haddin unbeaten on 12.
Australia had been in trouble at 76 for four shortly after lunch, thanks
mainly to paceman Stuart Broad, who took four wickets for 48 runs in 20 overs.
But a fifth-wicket stand of 129 between Rogers, dropped on 49, and
all-rounder Shane Watson, reprieved on five before making 68, kept England, who
at 2-0 up with two to play had already retained the Ashes, at bay.
At 35 years and 344 days, Rogers was the second oldest Australian to score a
maiden Test century after Arthur Richardson, 37 years and 353 days when he made
exactly 100 against England at Leeds in 1926.
South Africa's Dave Nourse (42 years, 295 days) is the oldest from any
And, in a sign of their recent problems, this was the first time in 12 Tests
an Australian opener had scored a hundred, the longest sequence since they went
13 Tests without one at the top of the order between 1899 and 1902.
Prior to Rogers's innings, David Warner's 119 against South Africa at
Adelaide in November 2012 was the last Test century by an Australian opener.
Rogers had waited five years since making his Australia debut in 2008 before
playing his second Test at the start of this Ashes series after several years
of heavy run-scoring in both Australian and English first-class cricket.
The 35-year-old, who started the season as captain of English county
Middlesex, had come close to a Test century with 84 in the drawn third match at
Old Trafford and this was the third time he'd passed 50 in the series.
Before lunch, Broad took three wickets, including that of Australia captain
and batting lynchpin Michael Clarke.
Broad, making use of the overcast conditions, seamed one back in to clip the
top of left-hander Warner's off-stump.
And 12 for one became 12 for two when Broad had an uncertain Usman Khawaja
caught behind for a duck off the bottom edge by wicketkeeper Matt Prior.
The latest controversy involving the Decision Review System this series came
when Tony Hill gave Rogers out caught behind off Broad on 20.
Rogers reviewed and the much-criticised Hot Spot element of the DRS
indicated he hadn't hit the ball.
Although the ball hit Rogers' back pad, Hawk Eye tracking technology said it
would have just clipped the bails and the 'umpire's call' verdict meant Rogers
was not out lbw either.
But there was no dispute when Clarke, who made a brilliant 187 in
Manchester, drove without moving his at a Broad out-swinger on six and England
captain Alastair Cook held a sharp chance above his head at first slip.
Bresnan would have dismissed Watson for five had he held a sharp left-handed
caught and bowled chance.
Rogers was then reprieved in the act of reaching 50 when he nicked Broad
only for second slip Graeme Swann to drop a catch that looked as if it would
have carried to Cook at first slip.
After Rogers drove off-spinner Swann to reach 96, he was fortunate to see a
leading edge off the same bowler fall short of Broad at mid-on.
Meanwhile, Watson's 22nd Test 50 failed to yield what would have been only
his third century when a leg-glance off Broad was well caught by a diving
Rogers spent 30 minutes on 96, facing 19 balls, all from Swann, without
However, when he swept Swann for the 13th four of his innings it meant
Rogers had completed a century, his 61st in first-class cricket, after more
than five hours at the crease before, with no floodlights on the ground, the
umpires took the players off shortly before the scheduled close.