Man of the day: Chris Rogers
Patience paid off for Chris Rogers at the MCG, as he finally enjoyed a landmark moment on home turf.
By Rob Lancaster
Last Updated: 29/12/13 7:09am
Having been discarded after making his debut against India back in 2008, the left-handed opener could easily have believed his chance in the international arena had come and gone, resigning him to being a one-cap wonder.
Yet thousands (and thousands, and even more thousands) of domestic runs both in Australia and England, where he has been a heavy scorer in stints with Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and, most recently, Middlesex, kept his name in the frame.
At 35 he could easily have given up hope of earning a recall, but ahead of an Ashes series in England the Australian selectors drafted in the veteran to provide some stability to the top of their fragile order.
It seemed at first as if he would fill the problem position at three, only for David Warner's antics in a nightclub in Birmingham to offer up the opportunity to open the innings.
On his long-awaited Test return he made a half-century in the second innings of the series opener at Trent Bridge and despite two low scores at Lord's, showed he was cut out for Test cricket with 84 on day one at Old Trafford.
He may have been disappointed to miss out on three figures in Manchester, but soon made amends by hitting 110 in his team's first innings in the next Test, at Durham Emirates ICG. A further 49 followed second time around, though it wasn't enough to prevent another defeat.
Still, the reliable Rogers must've really craved a Test hundred on home soil. Now he has finally achieved that feat and at the MCG, the place where he now plays his state cricket for Victoria, and to win a Boxing Day Test to boot.
He could be forgiven for thinking the opportunity had been and gone in his first innings in the fourth Ashes Test. Having overcome a nasty blow to the head from a Stuart Broad bouncer, the Sydney-born batsman rather gave it away on 61, chipping Tim Bresnan tamely to mid-off.
However, unlike the gap between him winning his first and second caps for Australia, he didn't have to wait too long to make amends.
With the hosts needing 231 to continue their pursuit of a series sweep, Rogers showed he is not just a nugget at the top of the order. Using the pace of the seamers, he steered several boundaries down to the vacant third man region, while also whipping anything too straight through mid-wicket.
The cover drive was also a productive shot, and it was a fine example of it which saw him through to three figures during the afternoon session. Sure, he'd been dropped on 19 and 81, but few Test tons are ever perfect. Crucially, he'd made the most of those two lives and cashed in.
While he didn't quite manage to see the job right through to the end, falling to Monty Panesar for 116 with just 31 needed, Rogers' runs had put Australia on course for a comfortable victory.
He received a standing ovation when he departed the MCG, surely satisfied at a job well done. At least now he should be safe for Sydney Test, and perhaps even beyond then. His second coming as a Test cricketer shows no signs of ending soon, just like England's misery Down Under.