Rogers shows results of work against spin
Victoria 236 and 1 for 175 (Rogers 96*, Quiney 56) lead New South Wales 353 by 58 runs
Chris Rogers hopes he will be better prepared to handle Graeme Swann's spin this summer after working on his footwork with Dean Jones over the past few weeks. The encouraging early results from that work were on display at the MCG on Friday, when Rogers used his feet effectively to the spin of Nathan Lyon and Steve O'Keefe and pushed himself within reach of a 63rd first-class century when bad light stopped play.
Although Rogers was one of Australia's strongest performers on this year's Ashes tour of England, he was at his most vulnerable when facing Swann. That was particularly noticeable as he crawled through the nervous 90s in Chester-le-Street on the way to his maiden Test hundred, tied down by the accuracy and slight variations of Swann, who was responsible for six of his nine dismissals throughout the series.
At 36 and with more than 20,000 first-class runs to his name, Rogers might have been forgiven for thinking his game was in good working order, but he identified the weakness against spin and in recent weeks has worked with Jones, who was famously fleet-footed during his playing days. Greg Shipperd, the Victoria coach, said Rogers
"It's not a huge change really, it's just about having the confidence to just shift your feet down there and show the bowler that you've got some intent and some other scoring options," Shipperd said. "It's as simple as that. I don't think it's a big change at all, it's just a mindset change. I think he has the skills, he has the relationship with his bat that allows the ball to be manoeuvred.
"He's giving himself more options and he's identified areas to score. I think against Swann there's a potential to be locked down and caught on your crease. I think the fact that he's thinking about moving down the pitch aggressively and with intent, the fact that he's perhaps wanting to move in the other direction as well, but also just find gaps, are important things. He'll keep his options open, and he'll have some options instead of playing from the crease."
Having made 88 in the first innings, Rogers again looked solid on the third day in Melbourne and it was only bad light that stopped him joining his Test team-mates Steven Smith and David Warner as centurions so far in the match. Wet weather also forced a lengthy delay during the day but Rogers kept his concentration during an unbeaten 219-minute innings, including during a 140-run opening partnership with Rob Quiney.
Rogers comfortably outscored his colleague and found gaps and waited for his opportunities to score, and brought up his half-century off his 102nd delivery. Quiney missed the opportunity to go on and post a big score when he cut too close to his body and was taken at first slip by Nic Maddinson off the bowling of Doug Bollinger for 56 from 132 balls.
It was the only wicket New South Wales claimed during a day on which only 59.4 overs were possible due to the rain and gloomy conditions, as Peter Handscomb joined Rogers and was on 13 when play was abandoned for the day. Victoria had moved along to 1 for 175, giving them a lead of 58 runs, but with further rain expected on Saturday it appeared that the Blues would take the only points from the match after claiming a first-innings lead.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here