Australia's senior player has reflected on the rigours of playing in an Ashes Test series. Chris Rogers was determinedly realistic and refreshingly candid, but he did not sound like a man who seriously thought that the 2-0 losing margin against England was about to be overturned.
"The pressures that come with playing international cricket are far more than in domestic cricket, naturally," he said. "It's still quite hard to experience once you're in, just the scrutiny I guess that comes with that, particularly as we haven't played to the standard that we would have liked, and myself individually."
Rogers was chosen for this tour at the age of 35 as the experienced old hand despite having made his only Test appearance five years ago. It was felt that his knowledge of English conditions playing for Middlesex and his calm demeanour would buttress a fragile batting order.
Although he scored a staunch half-century at Trent Bridge in the second innings of the first Test, it has not gone according to plan. At Lord's Rogers was out twice to Graeme Swann, lbw to a full toss which he ought to have reviewed, and then bowled by a ball to which he shouldered arms. He knew what to expect in this series, but it appears to have taken its toll.
"It's been tough to take in some respects but I knew this was going to happen so I've just got to get on with it," he said. "There's things about it that are quite intense and sometimes hard to enjoy. There's pros and cons, but I'm loving this opportunity."
Rogers will probably keep his place for the third Test but, like almost every other batsman in Australia's top order, he needs runs to continue to justify his selection. Darren Lehmann, the Australia coach, gave Rogers and Shane Watson his blessing as openers in a pre-emptive move almost as soon as he took over and it would be seen as panic to change after two matches.
But Australia seem certain to make at least one alteration to the team which were roundly defeated at Lord's, with David Warner coming in. He will probably dislodge Phil Hughes, who looks distinctly out of sorts and out of his class for the second successive Ashes series in England.
Steve Smith, another under-performer in the middle order, is in some discomfort with a sore back. Although it is assumed he will be fit, it may give the selectors an opportunity to try someone else. Australia need runs so desperately that they seem prepared to try almost any combination.
The fact they have settled neither on their personnel nor the order in which they will bat is testament to their present difficulties. They will not, it is presumed, make the mistake of fielding two spinners simply because England have two in their squad. Rogers assessed that the team has plenty to do.
He said: "I don't think there's anything else you can do, fight as hard as you can, try to stay out there and not surrender your wicket, which we've probably been doing a little bit too easily."Reuse content