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