Chester-Le-Street, 10 Aug: Chris Rogers’ 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 country. 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.