Rogers' season-best defies Lancashire
Lancashire 392 (Prince 144, Croft 78; Rayner 3-88) and 266 for 8 dec (Horton 89, Brown 76; Malan 5-61) drew with Middlesex 230 (Shahzad 4-40) and 265 for 1 (Rogers 138*)
Chris Rogers may hold one of the more unusual posts in county cricket but it has made a positive effect on his form with Middlesex's interim captain of their championship side scoring a defiant century to prevent defeat against Lancashire.
Given the responsibility of leading Middlesex in the championship last month following Neil Dexter's decision to stand down to concentrate on improving his form, Rogers has responded to the bigger role by scoring an unbeaten 138, his first century of the season. Spanning nearly six hours at the crease in sweltering temperatures, Rogers' innings helped them easily navigate a final day that could have been fraught with problems.
Resuming the final day on 29 without loss, requiring a further 400 runs for an unlikely victory, the combination of a slow wicket and outfield and Lancashire's tight bowling ensured Middlesex were never really in a position to push for victory. Although they only lost one wicket in 96 overs during the day, their most productive session was during the afternoon when they were still limited to 95 runs in 33 overs.
Australian overseas batsman Rogers' disciplined and determined innings, which included 13 fours, gave Lancashire little hope of forcing home their first championship win of the summer. Having lost four wickets for 16 runs themselves chasing quick runs the previous day, they were hopeful Middlesex would follow suit and go after the improbable target in the knowledge it would create chances.
Having got off to a sluggish start, Lancashire's attack limiting scoring opportunities and resulting in 84 dot balls from the first 108 deliveries, Middlesex were never able to generate enough momentum to achieve what would have been their highest ever total to win a game. Yet the day could have been so different had Chapple succeeded in his appeal for lbw against Rogers in the first over of the day.
Lancashire were also frustrated that Rogers' edge to slip off the part-time off-spin of Steven Croft when he had reached 112 was also ruled out for over-stepping. Those chances apart, they created few opportunities.
"We couldn't have done much else, it didn't turn like we hoped it would," admitted Peter Moores, Lancashire's coach. "Rogers played very well and the fact we only got one wicket, caught behind down the leg-side, was testament to how well they played.
"I thought we bowled ok and put a lot in the right areas but getting Rogers caught off a no ball probably summed up the day. For them to go for it was very difficult. You saw that we lost wickets quickly when we tried to go for it last night."
The only wicket to fall during a day dominated by batsmen was opener Sam Robson, who edged Kyle Hogg's fifth ball behind as he attempted to flick it off his legs. By then, though, lunch was approaching and Lancashire's hopes of claiming a dramatic final day victory similar to those secured against Yorkshire and Hampshire last season were fast receding.
Rogers survived another lbw appeal on 62 shortly after the lunch interval when he attempted to sweep Simon Kerrigan, Lancashire's left-arm spinner, but otherwise Lancashire struggled to impose themselves on Middlesex.
He progressed to his highest score since hitting 145 for Middlesex against Northamptonshire at Lord's last August and forged an unbroken 161-run stand with Joe Denly, who finished unbeaten on 61 after over three hours at the crease. It ensured only the second draw at Aigburth in 14 matches, stretching back to 2004.
"We were always a little bit under pressure today," Rogers admitted. "A day four wicket here has a reputation of turning but it was pretty dead and once you got in you could bat for a long time. It worked out well for us, it's another game we haven't lost and we're still competing. We were poor for the first three days but we bounced back well today.
"They attacked all day and that was still all the runs we could get. They could have defended at any stage and also a new batsman coming in with the way Kerrigan was spinning it would have been a challenge. We thought that if we could get to the last session with wickets in hand and be relatively close to the target we could have a dip but we were never really in the hunt."