Veteran Chris Rogers has bought some extra time for his late-blooming Test career after becoming the oldest Australia opener for 60 years to score an Ashes century, in yesterday’s big win over England. The 36-year-old left-hander had fretted before the fourth Test that he was under pressure to hold on to his place.
But Rogers laid that ghost to rest with a match-clinching 116 off 155 balls to bury England’s victory hopes and put Australia 4-0 up in the series ahead of this week’s final Sydney Test. Rogers, who also scored 61 in the first innings, ran Mitchell Johnson close for the man-of-the-match award.
Despite Rogers’ jitters about his Test place, skipper Michael Clarke said he was an important member of the Ashes-winning side. “I think it was a fantastic innings. A match-winning innings and he deserves a lot of credit for it,” Clarke said. “The way he played in the first innings was special as well.
“I think some people thrive on that expectation and that extra pressure and Chris certainly seems like one of those players. I think as captain of the team I certainly haven’t felt that Chris is under pressure for his spot. I think he’s been batting really well. I think he’s been doing his job at the top of the innings for us and plays a huge role in our middle order.
Clarke said Rogers’ century in the Boxing Day Test on his home Melbourne Cricket Ground before a total attendance of almost 272,000, was very special.
“I think more than anything it does his own personal confidence the world of good, but from my perspective Chris is an important part of this team,” he said. “I think for his teammates it was very special to see him raise his bat for his hundred, and on his home ground the MCG as well.”
Rogers became the oldest Australian opener to hit a Test century since Lindsay Hassett hit a hundred against England at Lord’s in 1953. Coach Darren Lehmann said it was the best Rogers had batted for Australia since his 84 in the third Test in Manchester in August.
Brief Scores: Australia 204 & 231-2 (C Rogers 116, S Watson 83*) beat England 255 & 179 (A Cook 51, N Lyon 5-50; M Johnson 3-25) by eight wickets