Veteran opener uses his knowledge of English conditions to his advantage.
Chris Rogers’ maiden Test century to give Australia the edge in the fourth Ashes match against England was hailed as a reward for years of perseverance.
At almost 36, Rogers became the second oldest Australian to score a maiden Test century when he took his team to within sight of a first-innings lead over England after Saturday’s second day in Durham.
Australia were 222 for five at stumps, 16 runs behind England’s first innings 238, with Rogers 101 not out after the tourists had been in trouble at 76-4 shortly after lunch.
Australia’s cricket writers focused on Rogers’ painstaking ton over five and a half hours to ensure England did not claw back Australia’s hard-won advantage from day one.
“If Rogers’ maiden Test century seemed like a cricketing gold watch — reward for years of hard work and perseverance in the game’s second tier — it is not too late for the veteran opener to have an influence on this team’s future,” The Sunday Telegraph’s Richard Hinds said.
The Australian’s Wayne Smith paid tribute to Rogers’ doggedness in the most testing of batting conditions against the probing England seamers.
“Considering he is short-sighted and colour-blind, Rogers did remarkably well to see Australia through to a dominant position on a gloomy day when the ball was nipping at batsmen like a rabid blue heeler (dog) from first over to last,” Smith wrote.
“It has been a long time since an Australian scored a Test century in such difficult conditions, with the ball at times seaming so sharply it was like facing a 140km/h version of (spinner) Graeme Swann.”
Fairfax Media’s Malcolm Knox said: “Rogers stands as a magical symbol of reprieve: from time, from oblivion, from the laws of gravity. It’s never too late! Grandfathers across the country will be dusting off their Slazengers and reapplying their Polyarmour.”
Colleague Chris Barrett said it was not Rogers’ fault that he had to wait so long to make his first Test century in his first recalled series since his Test debut in 2008.
“In fairness to Rogers his first international ton was made in only his fifth Test, after being overlooked for five years despite churning out what is now upwards of 20,000 first-class runs and 60 centuries,” Barrett said.
At 35 years and 344 days, Rogers was the second oldest Australian to score a maiden Test century after Arthur Richardson, 37 years and 353 days when he made 100 against England at Leeds in 1926.