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Chris Rogers


Rogers ton one for the ages

Chris Rogers cemented his place as an Australian Test opener with a remarkable maiden century, 15 years in the making.

His 101 not out was symbolic of his career - patient, tenacious and ultimately unbeaten despite the amount of time it took him to get there.

At 35 years and 344 days old, Rogers became the second oldest Australian to score a breakthrough Test ton, after Arthur Richardson did it at 37 in 1926.

Under the threat of another batting collapse and in the face of a ferocious spell from Stuart Broad in seaming conditions, Rogers rescued Australia from disaster and carried them to 5-222 at stumps on day two, just 16 runs from a first innings lead in the fourth Ashes Test.

Rogers wanted to believe he was good enough to score a Test hundred, but after years of having his case for selection ignored, there was no way he could know for sure.

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That uncertainty only intensified when he reached 96 and England players reminded him, "if you don't get it now, you may never".

It took him 30 agonising minutes and 19 consecutive balls facing Graeme Swann to finally bring up the milestone with a boundary through square leg.

"I was like a cat on a hot tin roof," he said.

There was no big celebration, just the acceptance of a hug from partner Brad Haddin and a bat wave to the dressing room that told a story of pure relief.

Rogers' only Test prior to this series was way back in 2008 when he was an injury replacement for Matt Hayden against India in Perth.

Until he was given a surprise call-up for the Ashes, Rogers had spent years feeling helpless and disgruntled.

The 60 first-class centuries and 20,000 runs he'd amassed counted for nothing when a memorable fighting hundred was within reach.

"They don't count for a thing. In some respects it makes it harder because after all this time you're fully aware how much it means," he said.

"To get a hundred playing for your country is just a magnificent hundred. I'm so happy and so relieved I got it.

"After all this time you just don't think that this opportunity is going to come up.

"I'd always hoped so but it just felt like there was always one bloke in the way.

"To get a hundred, that's something that no one can take away from me, and I can tell my grandchildren about it now ... if I have any."

Rogers rode his luck, playing and missing regularly, but never changed his game.

He took 231 balls and five and a half hours to get there, and combined in a crucial 129-run partnership with a brilliant Shane Watson (68), who came to the crease at 4-76.

Rogers survived a DRS review when on 20 thanks to a technicality that will soon be changed by lawmakers, and then when passing 50 he was dropped by Swann at slip off Broad (4-48).

"Broad's was an unbelievable spell. The ball seemed to be coming back a little bit and then seaming away," he said.

"Swann is as good a spinner as I've faced. Then all the other things that go with it. The pressure, the expectation, the criticism. That kind of emotional rollercoaster comes into it.

"In some respects being older has probably helped me."

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