Pressure off Rogers after match-winning century

Published: Monday | December 30, 2013 Comments 0
Australia's Chris Rogers celebrates after making 100 runs against England during their Ashes cricket Test match yesterday.AP
Australia's Chris Rogers celebrates after making 100 runs against England during their Ashes cricket Test match yesterday.AP

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP):

Possibly for the first time in his Test career, Chris Rogers will feel his spot on the Australian team is secure after following a first-innings half century with a match-winning century yesterday to give Australia a fourth straight Ashes win over England.

Australia resumed day four at 30 without loss chasing 231 for victory, and progressed to 64 before David Warner (25) was caught behind off Ben Stokes.

Rogers then combined with Shane Watson in a second-wicket partnership of 136 to aggressively chase down the target before he was caught behind trying to cut Monty Panesar through the off side, ending a 155-ball innings that contained 13 boundaries.

Watson was unbeaten on 83 at the end, with captain Michael Clarke adding six - passing 8,000 career Test runs in the process - to help the Australians to 231-2.

Rogers had been conspicuous in his lack of a big innings this series and admitted ahead of the Boxing Day Test that he feels under pressure to retain his spot as an opening batsman "every game".

That pressure evaporated before tea on the fourth day of the fourth Test at his home ground, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, when the 36-year-old brought up just his second Test century in emphatic style to lead Australia to an eight-wicket win over England.

"As a cricketer, that's as good as it gets," he said after the match. "To win a Boxing Day Test and to get a hundred on the last day, it's what dreams are made of.

"I was a little bit under pressure, so to come to the MCG and get runs is fantastic."

He reached his century by driving Jimmy Anderson for four through cover and raised his bat to the resounding applause of the 38,522 fans at the MCG.

SECURE PLACE

Despite his last century coming during the fourth Ashes Test of the previous series in England, Clarke said Rogers' place in the team was always secure.

"I think as captain of the team I certainly haven't felt that Chris is under pressure for his spot," he said. "I think he's been batting really well. I think he's been doing his job at the top of the innings for us, and plays a huge role in our middle order - being able to play the way we play because of the way he sets it up."

But Clarke was under no illusions as to the significance of his latest knock.

"I think more than anything it does his own personal confidence the world of good, but from my perspective, I think Chris has done everything that I've asked as captain," he said. "He's an important part of this team, and I think for his teammates it was very special to see him raise his bat for his hundred, and on his home ground the MCG as well."


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