Man of the day
Chris Rogers was a clear-cut winner on day two after his maiden Test century
Last Updated: 10/08/13 7:36pm
With David Warner coming off a suspension, Australia turned to a 35-year-old county veteran who had played just one previous Test match - against India over five years ago.
But his experience in English conditions has served him well so far in the series, as the left-hander made a half-century in the first Test at Trent Bridge before following that up with a fine innings of 84 in the third match at Old Trafford, where he retained the opening spot despite Warner's return.
And in the first innings at Emirates Durham ICG he took the next step, bringing up his maiden Test century with a knock full of Aussie grit and determination.
The innings was not without a good dose of fortune as he only made it to the half-century mark thanks to a drop in the slips by Graeme Swann and came perilously close to chopping onto his stumps after a Stuart Broad delivery tied him in knots.
He was also given out caught behind when on 20 but reviewed the decision and was saved when the technology showed the ball hit pad but not bat.
Rogers still had to endure the wait for an outcome of the decision for lbw, which went to 'umpire's call', but as that aspect of the appeal was originally given not out, he was granted a reprieve.
But those near-misses merely illustrate the pressure Australia as a whole were under following a superb morning-session spell from Stuart Broad which had reduced them to 49-3.
And once Rogers weathered the storm and passed his fifty he began to operate more smoothly, slowly but surely edging towards three figures against a toiling England attack.
A fifth-wicket stand of 129 with former opening partner Watson seemed to break the spirit of England's bowlers, but the fall of the all-rounder's wicket for 68 gave the hosts a new impetus with Rogers in the nervous nineties.
He remained on 96 for a total of 19 agonising balls, with the Australia balcony finding it hard to watch as a couple of uppish strokes fell just short of fielders.
But Rogers swept Graeme Swann away for four to spark the celebrations and added one more run to his tally before play was stopped early for bad light.
He will resume on Sunday hoping to help his team make substantially more than England's first-innings total of 238.