Ashes 2013: Chris Rogers felt he was under pressure to score runs

Chris Rogers scored a brisk 114-ball 84 on Day One of the third Ashes Test against England © Getty Images

Manchester: Aug 2, 2013

Australia‘s Chris Rogers said he had to score runs in the third Ashes Test following a lean patch. He also refused to blame a restless friend for missing out on what would have been a maiden Test hundred at Old Trafford on Thursday.

The 35-year-old opener batted impressively after Australia captain Michael Clarke won the toss on the first day of the third Ashes Test and was in sight of a cherished century when he was out leg-before to England off-spinner Graeme Swann for 84.

But the day’s play was repeatedly held up by movement behind the bowler’s arm at the Pavilion End. This was the first Test in the Manchester ground’s 129-year history to be played on a pitch facing north-south rather than east-west. That meant members in the Pavilion were now behind the arm for half of the day’s play.

However, it was not one of the locals who made the fateful movement behind Swann’s arm when Rogers was 16 shy of a century but Daniel Salpietro, a teammate of the left-hander at Melbourne grade club Prahran.

Afterwards the 25-year-old off-spinning all-rounder, who played one Twenty20 ‘Big Bash’ match for Victoria in the 2010-11 season, took to Twitter to insist he’d merely been trying to get another spectator to sit down.

After stumps Rogers, asked if Salpietro had contributed to his missing out on a Test century, replied: “No, not really. These things crop up every now and again. I’ll make a phone call because I know the guy who was up there. I’m not going to blame him — I think — much.”

Before this series, Rogers spent five years in the international wilderness after making his Test debut in 2008.

Australia’s top-order batting problems have been a key reason why they came into this match having lost their last six Tests, a run that has seen them fall 2-0 behind against Ashes-holders England with three to play.

But Rogers rose to the challenge after Clarke won the toss on Thursday. His innings laid the platform for an Australian Day One total of 303 for three, with Clarke making 125 not out and Steven Smith unbeaten on 70.

Rogers, belying his reputation as a stonewaller, scored briskly facing 114 balls with 14 fours. “I wanted to show people that I can play an innings like that — I’m not just a guy who will try to eat up time. So I felt a lot better today [Thursday] and had a positive mindset and fortunately it worked,” said the left-hander.

Apart from his 52 in the second innings of the first Test at Trent Bridge, Rogers had been struggling for runs against England prior to Thursday’s effort and he accepted his international career had been on the line.

“In some respects, yeah. My performances haven’t been anything to write home about. I knew if I had a bad Test I would be under pressure,” he added.