England v Australia, 4th Investec Ashes Test, Durham, 2nd day August 10, 2013

Can't take hundred away from me - Rogers


Last year, Chris Rogers was almost cut from Victoria's contract list as the state looked to prepare future Test cricketers. At 34, Rogers did not appear to fit the bill. Now, Rogers is not only a Test cricketer again, five years after his one-off match against India, but he is a Test centurion. An Ashes centurion, no less. It is little wonder that Rogers was emotional when he reached triple figures at Chester-le-Street, nor when he was interviewed after play.

At 35, he was the second-oldest man ever to score a maiden Test century for Australia. He did so with more than 20,000 first-class runs to his name. Rogers said the uncertainty of when, if ever, he would get another chance at Test cricket after he replaced the injured Matthew Hayden at the WACA in 2008 made his hundred all the more special.

"After all this time you just don't think that this opportunity is going to come up," Rogers said. "I wanted to believe I was good enough but never knew. To get a hundred, that's something that no one can take away from me, and I can tell my grandchildren about it now ... if I have any."

That Rogers is even part of this Ashes side is a quirk of fate, for had the Australians still boasted the experience of Michael Hussey and Ricky Ponting as they hoped they would a year ago, he would not have been deemed such a necessity. It appeared that Rogers had missed the cut when the selectors used men like Phil Jaques, Phillip Hughes and Simon Katich over the past few years, but he refused to give up at first-class level.

"There's times when sides have been picked and I haven't been in them and thought that that was my chance but it didn't happen," Rogers said. "Finally this opportunity has come along and I've really wanted to make the most of it and you can say that, but you've still got to go out and perform. It was my day today. There were so many things that went my way. You've just got to make the most of it and fortunately I did.

"I'd always hoped so but it just felt like there was always one bloke in the way. It was those two [Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer] then it was Jaquesy, then it was Katich, then Phil, then Watto went and opened. It just felt like there was always one bloke in the way but I get to play cricket for a living and I set high standards. I've been happy to go along and perform as well as I can and hope for this one opportunity. Fortunately it has come along."

Not that triple figures was a certainty, as Rogers well knew having made 84 at Old Trafford last week. As he made his way through the nineties, he began to get edgy and he was stuck on 96 for 19 consecutive deliveries from Graeme Swann, scooping a couple of near catches into the leg side before sweeping a boundary to become Australia's second centurion of the series.

"I didn't have a care in the world," Rogers joked of his time on 96. "No, it was a nervous time. I got the score in the last game and thought that was maybe my opportunity and just got to the 90s and the England boys were saying 'If you don't get it now, you may never'. It was just a fantastic moment to finally get it.

"It was emotional out there, that's for sure. And it has been. Initially to get picked for Australia was amazing, but the nerves and the things that go with it ... the Lord's Test match, that was as low as I've been for a while, hearing the criticism coming in and feeling like you've let down your country. That hurts. To play well in the last Test and to back it up in this one means a lot to me."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sachit1979 on August 11, 2013, 18:31 GMT

    I can't understand why this guy was not in baggy green for these many years. He could have avoided 4-0 whitewash against India.

  • paapam on August 11, 2013, 18:01 GMT

    A fairy tale really. Hope it lasts. Along with Hodge one of the unluckiest of Australian cricketers.

  • strikeforce2003 on August 11, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    Well played Chris, though will need to see more from you in the crucial 2nd innings.,you Were denied a place with your nation's team as no one could ever contemplate sneaking past the greats of Waughs, Ponting, openers in the time warp between 1990 onto 2004. Rogers,you have the experience and the chance though not wrongly denied totally as such earlier, it could now & then nag you, seeing so many open spaces filled easier by youngsters so easily in a fledging Aussie team as of now..knowing such that they occupy the green baggies with half the flair as you carried in your prime.,it's though now to remind yourself of bygones being bygones, this is your time..make the best of it. Remember Day 4 of this Test makes you great,with the English county experience stacked in a decade inside you, just go for the runs & win for Australia

  • Jagdish3k on August 11, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    That's destiny. Very happy for Rogers.Hope a few more from him.I hope Aus selectors are patient with him and he is given a place in team for next one or two years.I still feel the root cause of Aus failure in test cricket is due to bad selection and not giving enough opportunity to players.

  • Chris_Howard on August 11, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    @Big_Maxy_Walker Ya, I cringe when I think about what we missed by losing Jacques and Katich. Feel sorry for them both that their Test careers were curtailed early.

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on August 11, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    Phil Jacques would still be in the team had it not been for a bad back. An average of 47 with 3 hundreds in 11 matches. So to say he didn't cement his spot is misleading. Katich should have been brought back after the injury recovery. His first class record has been good since then. The selections of openers Cowan, Hughes, Watson and Warner ahead of Rogers and Katich is ridiculous. Think of the tests we could have won with the older guys opening.

  • jlw74 on August 11, 2013, 9:41 GMT

    What a pleasure to witness a good old fashion tough as nails test century from a tough as nails opener. Congrats Chris Rodgers that was a pleasure to watch and on a true testing test match wicket and not a flat track. Here's to a few more Mr Rodgers and a timely reminder to all that's its never to late to reach your goals regardless of what they are.

  • dummy4fb on August 11, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    Great achievement. Really got amazed with his temperament. The selectors were brave and he proved them right. There is a lesson for other teams' selectors in this, dont go with the age, look for skill.

  • Micky.Panda on August 11, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    Rogers should have been picked years ago and Katich moved to No. 3. Cowan was instead picked after a couple of good scores rather than a solid career. Dumb, and has really cost Australia big time. Ponting was occupying No. 3 when was out of form and could have been dropped to No. 6 or completely dropped. The problem was he was the Captain.

  • Barnesy4444 on August 11, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    It is actually an excellent innings. Moving ball, good bowling, early wickets, behind in the series, these are the type of innings Australia needs at the top of the order on a regular basis. Warner has played one against N.Z. a couple of years ago but that's about it.