Rogers back in the groove at Lord's
Middlesex 96 for 0 (Rogers 67*) trail Nottinghamshire 430 for 7 dec. (Mullaney 125, Adams 80, Hussey 67) by 334 runs
Chris Rogers may have only made 21 runs for Australia in the Lord's Test but nothing seems to disturb his serenity batting here for Middlesex. As some welcome September sun descended on the Home of Cricket, Rogers provided a reminder - if one were needed - that his game remains in fine working order ahead of the return Ashes series.
Rogers didn't play any particularly memorable shots, but then why would he need to? He has a method that works; his brain and body perfectly in sync as he goes about accumulating. But, rather like Justin Langer, Rogers may have the feel of a prodder but often has the strike-rate of a dasher. The 67 he has so far compiled here, off only 111 balls, are another case in point. His quick judgment of length means Rogers is able to score quickly without any discernible effort.
With Sam Robson playing with the caution of a man who has not passed 30 in his last eight completed innings, Middlesex's openers combined to suggest this game will be consigned to a draw. Only when Robson attempted a harum-scarum single did Nottinghamshire look like snaring a wicket.
But, as rewarding as Rogers found his day with the bat, his day captaining must have been deeply frustrating. That two quick bowlers - James Harris and Gurjit Sandhu - both went for over 4.5 an over spoke of an attack lacking a little control. For Gareth Berg the problem was more one of luck: his seamers repeatedly passed the edge, including of Patel on several occasions, and he wasn't flattered by figures of 2 for 78. On the sort of wicket that could be designed with producing a five-day Test in mind, how Middlesex would have benefited from the venom of Steven Finn.
The result was that Notts added 269 runs in 60.4 overs - double the rate at which they had scored on the first day. But, for all the big names in their middle order, it was Andre Adams who provided the day's biggest entertainment.
Promoted above Chris Read in a bid to get Nottinghamshire to 350 in time to collect their fourth batting bonus point, Adams promptly backed away to leg and hoiked his first ball over long-on for six. There is no great subtlety to Adams' batting but his death-or-glory approach was perfectly tailored to his side's need. Five times the Lord's boundary was made to look inadequate, until he was snared on the long-off boundary attempting a sixth maximum. But his work had long since been done: Adams had secured the fourth bonus point in the nick of time and, in taking Notts to 430 for 7 declared, to a position of apparent impregnability.
After Steven Mullaney had advanced to a technically assured 125 - his second century of the season - Samit Patel and David Hussey both contributed perky knocks. Patel was playing with his customary languid assurance - a couple of straight drives elicited purrs of approval from the members - and it was a matter of considerable surprise when he fell to an outstanding slip catch from Ollie Rayner's outstretched hand.
Hussey had fallen short of his usual exemplary standards this season but made 67 that bristled with intent. It always seems a wonder, given all the travails of the Australian middle-order, that Hussey never earned a Test cap. He did earn 108 international appearances in the two shorter formats, and enjoyed the chance to bat in one-day mode here. By the end of the day, it was another Australia who was to the fore.