Rogers and Smith lead Australia plunder
Australia 337 for 1 (Rogers 158*, Smith 129*) v England
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
On the first day in Cardiff, Joe Root had a life on zero and went on to score a century. On the first day at Lord's, Chris Rogers had a life on zero and went on to score a century. In Cardiff it was Brad Haddin who dropped Root; at Lord's it was Root himself who missed Rogers' edge at third slip. Root's hundred set up an England victory; Rogers' ton might yet do the same for Australia.
Of course, it is not as simple as to say that had Root got his hands above his head to snare Rogers the day would have belonged to England. But a wicket in the first over would have been the perfect start. Instead they had to settle for one breakthrough for the entire day, a David Warner brain-freeze that brought Rogers and Steven Smith together to begin a 259-run partnership.
By stumps, Australia were in a dominant position at 337 for 1. Rogers was on 158 and had earned a place on the Lord's honours board, a fitting achievement given the service he has provided to Middlesex over the past four years. Smith was on 129 and got his name on the board too, five years after he made his Test debut at Lord's as a No. 8.
For Rogers, this day ended a frustrating run of half-centuries that failed to turn into hundreds, seven in consecutive innings until that streak ended with his 10 in the second innings in Cardiff. For Smith, it was simply a continuation of his remarkable first-innings form of the past eight months: it was the sixth time in the past eight Tests that he had scored a first-innings century.
The Lord's pitch offered little for Alastair Cook's bowlers. The pace was slow and sideways movement infrequent. But if they were to give themselves the best shot at a 2-0 lead in this Investec Ashes series, they had to take their half-chances. And they didn't. James Anderson drew the Rogers edge that flew at catchable height over Root's head, but other chances were missed later in the day.
On 50, Smith edged a good Ben Stokes delivery that moved away off the pitch and Ian Bell, at second slip, got his hands low to the ground but failed to cling on to a chance he should have taken. A tougher chance was missed when Rogers was 78, his attempted sweep off Moeen Ali brushing the glove on the way through and ricocheting off Jos Buttler's gloves down the leg side.
It was a frustrating day for England's bowlers. The fast men struggled to have any real impact, though a couple of balls fizzed past edges. Moeen delivered enough scoring opportunities that the batsmen could wait him out. Except, that is, Warner, who on 38 had struck two boundaries already in Moeen's first over when he intemperately tried to thump him over long-off for another and was caught.
That left Australia at 78 for 1, but two-and-a-half wicketless sessions followed. Rogers had been the more positive of the opening partners and although he slowed done somewhat after Warner's departure, the scoring rate never stagnated too much. He was especially strong when late-cutting the spinners and punching the fast bowlers through point, and he finished with 25 boundaries.
He slowed as triple-figures approached but from his 209th delivery Rogers pushed a drive back past the bowler Anderson for four. Almost as soon as the ball left his bat Rogers let out a scream of excitement, knowing that it would reach the boundary and a Test hundred at Lord's was his.
By the end of the day he had passed his previous highest Test score of 119 and as the evening grew near he steered a boundary through third man to bring up his 150. Among Australians, only Don Bradman and Bill Brown have scored Test double-centuries at Lord's, and Rogers will begin day two with a realistic chance of joining them.
He had well and truly overtaken Smith, who beat Rogers to a century by two overs. The milestone came from his 161st delivery with a pull for four off Anderson, and it was one of 13 fours (plus a six) he struck over the course of the day. His runs came all around the wicket, a perfectly timed on-drive off Broad and a dancing cover-drive off Moeen among the highlights.
Smith's first fifty came from 111 balls and his second fifty from 50 balls, but his pace then dropped away again as he complemented Rogers' lifting tempo. The two men worked together to ensure they reached stumps safely, though an edge from Rogers in the last over fell just short of Bell at slip. If everything went England's way in Cardiff, at Lord's it was quite the opposite.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale