John Townsend: Chris Rogers haunted by Old Trafford ghost but proves he belongs

The Aussie Angle: There were such doubts that he was considering a move to Tasmania

Chris Rogers may be a darling at Lord's after his yeoman service for Middlesex over the past three years but he is no fan of the ghost in an MCC tie who disrupted his career-defining innings at Old Trafford.

While the closure of the curtain overshadowed the performance, Rogers proved in nearly three hours on centre stage that he has the chops to remain in top company. It took him 15 years in the game and more than 200 first-class matches to walk out to the middle at Old Trafford, but it was a satisfied man who returned to the changing room with 84 to his name. Satisfied, but frustrated in equal parts.

The left-hander was on cruise control for much of his innings and he motored into the eighties with the ease of a batsman having a net with a few mates down at the local park on a sunny afternoon. But as he neared the century that had been a dream for so many years and appeared beyond reach for just as many, Rogers became enmeshed in the distractions of his environment.

Members moving in the pavilion were waved away with an angry flourish that spoke of the mental mosquitoes starting to buzz at the edges of his concentration. An elderly gentleman in an MCC tie was the subject of Rogers' particular attentions and finally got the message sufficiently to close a glass door in front of him where he stood, like an egg-and-bacon apparition, peering down at the action.

The episode had its inevitable conclusion a moment or two later when Rogers attempted to clip Graeme Swann through midwicket but was trapped as he hit across the line. It was one of the few errors of judgement during an innings that produced his highest Test score, took him past 20,000 first-class runs and validated the selection rationale for his Ashes elevation at the age of 35.

Rogers had needed 58 runs to reach 20,000 in a career of consistent excellence and set off with alacrity as both new-ball bowlers gave him opportunities to drive on both sides of the wicket.

James Anderson was squirted for four through gully then overpitched and was driven straight. The bowler came around the wicket within a few balls as he sought to probe Rogers' defences but the batsman was up to the task and drove through the covers time and again. Three fours in four balls took Rogers past 50 and into the realm of that long-held dream. It was exquisite strokeplay from a player more renowned for his workmanlike approach, though a decade of prolific batting must have provided many occasions when the blade flashed and the runs flowed.

Only 13 batsmen have scored a double century against Shane Warne and Rogers' 279, made for Western Australia against Victoria seven years ago, is nearly at the top of the pile. Were it not for V V S Laxman and his ethereal 281 at Calcutta, Rogers would have the honour of the greatest score against the greatest bowler of his and maybe any era.

That feat contrasted with such doubts about his future less than a year ago that he was considering moving to Tasmania and it took intervention from the national selector, John Inverarity, for his new state Victoria to extend his contract. It is to Inverarity's great credit that he had the vision to see Rogers opening for Australia in this series, where the batsman's experience and technical ability against the swinging ball were identified as keys to the attempt to regain the Ashes.

Rogers had concerns before the match that David Warner's imminent return had put his place in jeopardy. He walked off Old Trafford aware that he could still be part of the first act when the curtain goes up on the fifth Ashes Test at the SCG in five months' time.

Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
world cup 2014
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice