Ashes 2013: Chris Rogers century gives Australia control of Test
Fourth Investec Test, Emirates Durham ICG (day two):
England 238 v Australia 222-5
Chris Rogers scored a gutsy 101 not out to give Australia the advantage in an absorbing fourth Ashes Test at Chester-le-Street.
The left-handed opener's maiden Test century guided the tourists to 222-5 at the close of the second day in reply to England's 238 all out.
Test Match Special analysis
"Another slow but interesting day where people had to graft for runs, but Australia are sitting prettier than England.
"Stuart Broad bowled well and deserved his figures, but England didn't bowl well enough in good areas. Australia got too many easy runs against our seamers, and that applies to Swann too."
Rogers led Australia's recovery after an incisive spell from Stuart Broad reduced them to 49-3 in overcast conditions, forging a partnership of 129 with Shane Watson, who made 68.
Both enjoyed slices of good fortune, with Rogers reprieved on review on 20 and dropped at slip on 49, while Tim Bresnan spilled a chance off his own bowling to remove Watson for five.
But as the ball softened and the England attack tired, Rogers and Watson began to prosper to give Australia the ascendancy as they look to recover from 2-0 down in the series.
Stuck on 96 for 20 balls, Rogers was kept in check by Graeme Swann before finally sending a sweep to the boundary to go to three figures shortly before bad light ended play.
The 35-year-old paused to allow the moment to sink in before removing his helmet to acknowledge the applause from the crowd and his team-mates.
The waiting game
Only five players have made more first-class centuries before recording their maiden Test hundred:
- 70: Andy Sandham (England)
- 68: CB Fry (England)
- 67: Graeme Hick (England)
- 62: WG Grace (England)
- 61: Darren Lehmann (England)
- 60: Chris Rogers (Australia)
As he posted the first hundred by an Australia opener in 12 Tests, Rogers became the second oldest Australian to score his maiden Test century.
After Jackson Bird had bowled James Anderson with the 12th ball of the day to end England's first innings, Broad produced a spell reminiscent of his Ashes-winning burst at The Oval in 2009.
Pitching the ball up and finding some late swing, he removed David Warner, Usman Khawaja and captain Michael Clarke in the space of 27 balls and beat the bat of Rogers on countless occasions.
Warner, promoted to the top of the order after batting at number six in the drawn third Test at Old Trafford, was bowled after bringing his bat down too late on a ball that arrowed into his off stump.
Khawaja got a thin edge off the underside of his bat to give Matt Prior his 200th Test catch and a frustrated Clarke and perished to a wild swipe that flew high to Cook at first slip.
There was no let-up from Broad as he had Rogers groping outside off stump before throwing his arms up to celebrate what he thought was a catch behind.
Umpire Tony Hill upheld the appeal but Rogers successfully reviewed the decision when replays showed the ball struck pad not bat.
With Hawk-Eye suggesting the ball would have clipped off stump, England assumed Rogers would be given out lbw, but because Hill had given him out caught and the lbw prediction was only an "umpire's call", the batsman survived.
The reprieve allowed Australia to scrape through to lunch without further damage, only for Bresnan to reapply the pressure with the wicket of Steve Smith, who poked tentatively and nicked through to Prior.
With the tourists reeling on 76-4, England would have been confident of securing a first-innings lead, but their efforts were fatally undermined by two dropped catches in successive overs.
Watson, fidgety and unsettled against the moving ball, drove a delivery back towards Bresnan, who stuck out a left hand but could not hold on.
Then, from the final ball of a superb over, Broad drew a loose drive from Rogers that flew off the edge and was put down at second slip by Swann, diving across Cook, who looked well positioned to take the catch.
Unfortunately for England, the wicketless James Anderson and Bresnan struggled to match Broad's intensity or threat, allowing Rogers and Watson to settle into their rhythm and accumulate runs with greater ease either side of tea.
Watson hit seven fours in his first half-century of the series, while Rogers began to find the gaps in the field to move towards his landmark century.
Broad returned to strangle Watson down the leg side, but Rogers held firm under darkening skies to complete a memorable hundred.