Chester-le-Street: Australia’s opener Chris Rogers was almost overcome with emotion on Saturday after recording his maiden Test century three weeks shy of his 36th birthday.
The left-handed opener put his side on top with his fighting century which helped the visitors take a first innings lead in the fourth Ashes Test in County Durham.
Rogers had only played one previous Test, scoring 19 runs in two innings against India in Perth in January 2008, when he was recalled by Australia for the first Ashes Test last month.
“It was emotional out there today, that’s for sure,” he told reporters.
Rogers had to go away and mentally regroup for a while after failing twice when England thrashed Australia by 347 runs in the second Test at Lord's to go 2-0 up in the series.
“To get picked (again) for Australia was amazing but the nerves and the things that go with it... the Lord’s Test, that was as low as I’ve been for a while, hearing the criticism and feeling like you’ve let down your country,” he added.
“That hurts. To play well in the last Test and to back it up in this one means a lot to me.”
Rogers needed a fair share of good fortune on Saturday. He was recalled early in his innings after umpire Tony Hill gave him out caught behind off Stuart Broad who took four of the five wickets to fall.
The video replay showed the ball clipping the pad, not the bat, and the home team quickly changed their appeal to an lbw shout.
England’s players started celebrating when the big screen in the corner of the ground showed the ball striking the stumps but that appeal was also turned down because it was only nudging the top of the bails.
Rogers reached his half-century with an edge off Broad that was put down by Graeme Swann as he dived full-length at second slip attempting the catch. Then, on 96, the opener faced 19 deliveries from Swann without scoring and twice chipped the ball in the air short of fielders while jittery skipper Michael Clarke covered his face with his hands on the pavilion balcony.
Clarke and the rest of the Australian team punched the air with delight when Rogers swept Swann for four to bring up his hundred and the opener celebrated in typically understated style by simply raising his bat.
“That was a nervous time,” said Rogers. “I got to the 90s and the England boys were saying ‘if you don't get it now, you may never’.
“They were fine, it’s exactly what we would be doing if it was the other way around. I think they were quite good to be honest, they all said ‘well done’ at the end. (Agencies)