Victoria v NSW, Sheffield Shield, Melbourne November 8, 2013

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Michael on November 11, 2013, 1:53 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx : for one ball. Even without that ball (which claimed a wicket), O'Keefe still had 1/51 vs Lyon's 1/109, and at a better economy. His figures were better that Lyon's in the 1st innings, too. I like Lyon, but O'Keefe's numbers have been better in each innings of the two matches they've both played in.

  • James on November 9, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    @Viv: He got more wickets than lyon because he got to bowl to Finch.

  • Sharyn on November 9, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    Think you might find that all the state captains were told by CA who to bowl and for how long. The game wasn't going to be won, though if Warner had teed off who would know? Same in QLD. Call it and keep the players healthy, for now at least. The spin battle between Lyon and Ahmed has been decided I would think. Openers decided. Watto??? big question mark. Is he going to just bat or maybe be able to bat and bowl or maybe not play at all? Clarke 4, Smith 5, 6 another question mark. Did Bailey do enough? Was pretty unimpressive in the 1st innings when the bowlers were fresh in the morning and couldn't add to his score, couldn't get to 50 in the 2nd innings, don't know about him yet. Johnson wasn't that good either, Siddle Harris and Lyon are there. I think it all depends on Watto is able to do or not do as the case may be as to who is selected for the 6 and possibly 3 position.

  • Basil on November 9, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    OKeefe continually proving he is the best spinner in Austalia - 8 wickets this season at under 20 and out bowling Lyon. 93 career wickets at 25 yet doesn't get considered for higher honors. He must be mates with Simon Katich.

  • Dummy4 on November 9, 2013, 6:21 GMT

    I' staggered and disappointed that Clarke did not think a win was worth going after here. Especially when 20 runs were scored off the previous two overs and NSW was no wickets down. Calling a game off with 15 overs to go? Well, that's a slap in the face of cricket fans. And that's my view.

  • Eddie on November 9, 2013, 4:36 GMT

    Once again O'Keefe outbowling Lyon. With all the right handers in the English team Steve should be the first spinner picked

  • Dummy4 on November 9, 2013, 2:41 GMT

    @ popcorn ....

    1) You believe in the same people who staged the Quiney / Hughes farce and selected the inept touring sides that went to India and England.

    2) Incompetently planned for a tour of India immediately before England ..... While the competent management team in England planned for a NZ Tour.

    3) Supported and condoned a leadership group that saw degradation of sportsmanship within the team.

    Yes .... the system produces the finest cricketers in the world but many of them are not allowed to play and many of those who are selected are immediately crippled by the Training Team.

  • Rajaram on November 9, 2013, 0:23 GMT

    What a great find! The ressurection of Chris Rogers makes me believe even more in the System that produced the World's best Cricketers, which was the envy of every other Cricketing country.Other countries began aping us, and like the Japanese who copied everything that the Americans did, and finally produced better products than the Americans, other Countries are producing better cricketers than we are. Thank God for us that the old school of John Inverarity and Rod Marsh and Greg Chappell exists. Time the diet changed from Big Bash Chicken to Health Foods, if you can understand the analogy.

  • Peter on November 8, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    This is why I respect this guy so much. Over 20,000 runs, batting average over 50 yet he still sees a reason why he should learn more about batting. Some of the younger guys could certainly take a leaf out of this guy's way to play cricket. @Beertjie, Don't forget Katich in that mix as well, if they had of stuck with him.l.

  • Dummy4 on November 8, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    @ paulkate72 ... Khawaja had to move to Queensland to play Sheffield Shield. He wasn't going to be allowed to play for NSW.

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