Rogers scores his maiden Test century as Australia dominate day two at Chester-le-Street (From The Northern Echo)
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Rogers scores his maiden Test century as Australia dominate day two at Chester-le-Street
AUSTRALIA trail by just 16 runs after Chris Rogers' maiden Test century left the tourists in a strong position at the end of day two of the fourth Ashes Test at Chester-le-Street.
With bad light bringing a premature end to proceedings, Australia are well placed on 222-5 despite having been 76-4 at one stage.
Rogers' unbeaten 101 was the key factor in their fightback, with the opener surviving a controversial DRS incident to compile the highest score of his Test career.
He combined with Shane Watson to put on 129 for the fifth wicket, and while the Emirates Durham ICG pitch continues to provide encouragement for the bowlers, England will have to take some quick wickets tomorrow morning if they are not to find themselves out of the game.
Stuart Broad bowled superbly to finish with figures of 4-48, but none of England's other bowlers shone, with Jimmy Anderson particularly disappointing.
At the start of the day, England's final pair lasted just 12 balls and failed to add a single run before Anderson was clean bowled by Jackson Bird.
The hosts would have been desperate to make early inroads into their opponents' batting line up, and they succeeded as they reduced Australia to 75-3 at lunch.
Broad inflicted all of the early damage, taking all three of the wickets to fall in the morning session and causing havoc as he got the ball to move around outside off stump.
He clean bowled David Warner for three, beating the opener for pace with a ball that nipped back off a good length.
In his following over, he removed Usman Khawaja for a duck, with the batsman feathering a faint inside-edge through to Matt Prior behind the stumps.
And Broad claimed his third wicket shortly before lunch when Australian skipper Michael Clarke attempted to drive him, but only succeeded in firing an edge to Alastair Cook at first slip.
It was the incident that happened shortly before Clarke's dismissal that was the crucial moment of the day though, with Rogers being reprieved in yet another DRS controversy.
The centurion was only on 20 when England's players thought he had edged behind off Broad.
Umpire Tony Hill also gave him out, but the Australian batsmen called for a review and Hot Spot showed there had been no contact with the bat.
A continuation of the review with Hawkeye technology, however, proved that Rogers was out lbw on an umpire's call as the ball would have clipped the top of the bail had it not hit his pad.
However, even though Hill had initially given Rogers out to a caught behind, he had not given an lbw decision and the final verdict was not out.
It was an unholy mess that underlined the extent of the problems bedevilling the DRS regulations, and the ICC will surely have to re-examine their use of the technology in the wake of this series.
The let off enabled Rogers to make hay in the final two sessions, with England toiling as their lead vanished before their eyes.
They actually made a decent start to the afternoon's play, with Tim Bresnan luring Steve Smith into an edge behind to Prior in the second over after lunch.
However, that was to be England's final success for more than four hours, with both Rogers and Watson growing increasingly secure as their opponents rapidly ran out of ideas.
Both players survived scares, with Bresnan putting down a tough caught-and-bowled opportunity to reprieve Watson when he had scored just five.
Rogers' life came in the following over, with the opener edging Broad to second slip when he was on 49, only for a sprawling Graeme Swann to put down a difficult low catch. Perhaps the fielder should have left it to Cook, who might have been better placed at first slip.
To Rogers' credit, though, he made the most of his opportunity, grinding it out as he played and missed on numerous occasions against Broad, before gradually cutting loose as Bresnan and Anderson strayed repeatedly.
Swann was also largely ineffective, and with Watson proving productive, especially in the evening session, Australia cruised past 200 with relatively little concern.
In total, Rogers and Watson added 129 for the fifth wicket, but their partnership was finally broken when the latter glanced a leg-side catch to Prior to give Broad his fourth wicket of the innings.
Rogers was on 96 at that stage, and he appeared to be paralysed by nerves as his century approached, going 19 balls off Swann without scoring.
He was almost clean bowled on two separate occasions while on 96, but eventually brought up his maiden Test century with a swept boundary to square leg.
Given the delicate match situation and the difficulty of scoring runs on this pitch, it was an especially praiseworthy performance.
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