Ashes 2015: Australia must ‘find a way’ in England and quickly, says Chris Rogers


BIRMINGHAM: To see Chris Rogers in action at Edgbaston was a bit like watching a multilingual, worldly tour guide try to lead a bunch of wide-eyed Australian backpackers around some ancient ruins when all they are thinking about is the pub crawl later that night.

There is much knowledge inside the head of the 37-year-old opener in spite of the knocks he has copped to it of late. And with England now certain to prepare replica tracks to the one on which Australia were bowled out for 136 on Wednesday for the final two Tests, Rogers’ fellow batsmen would do well to listen up and try to follow his lead.

Australia’s struggles against the moving ball are nothing new – they had the same dramas on their last tour here two years ago – but he believes they must work out a way to adapt, and urgently.

“I don’t think the focus [of the batsmen] is wrong,” Rogers insisted after making 52, the only score north of 16 in Australia’s miserable first innings.

“I think everyone is desperate to do well. Finding a way, that is possibly a concern. Particularly in these conditions, which are a little bit foreign to guys. You’ve got to find a method and we’ve got to find it quickly, because I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a few more of these kind of conditions.”

Rogers’ 50, the ninth in his past 11 innings, was a characteristically gritty number made in challenging conditions that suited a rampant James Anderson, in particular, like the WACA suits Mitchell Johnson. In the face of that the Australians collapsed, only Rogers hanging in there and threatening to hold his bat until his own demise, lbw to Stuart Broad, on Wednesday afternoon. Not to make light of his on-field collapse at Lord’s, a real scare that had him in doubt for this match, but you couldn’t blame him if he was left dizzied as one after another, his colleagues departed.

On afternoons like this – the marathon partnership of Rogers and Steve Smith at Lord’s a distant memory – one can come to the assumption that the scrapping Australian innings of old is no more. Rogers, however, believes that is not fair.

“It’s hard to know. You can’t just look at it from today and that’s it,” he said. “Or just in England. I’ve been so fortunate to have a lot of experience over here, so maybe that counts for a lot and the other guys probably just don’t know the conditions as well.

“There’s been tough times when we’ve had to fight in Australia or wherever and they’ve managed to do it well. So I don’t think you can just look at today and say, no, the fight has gone, because I’m sure it hasn’t.”

Rogers also brushed off suggestions that the Australians had got ahead of themselves after their 405-run thrashing of England in the second Test.

“I don’t think so. I think we respect England and particularly their attack,” he said. ” A lot has been made of that second Test win and a lot was made of the first Test win. It’s one game, one game at a time.

“As cricketers you know the momentum can change so quickly. So I don’t think we got ahead of ourselves at all. I read a lot where people thought it was almost game over, but there’s no way you disrespect the opposition. Particularly when you get conditions like this.”

If it wasn’t already clear, Rogers’ one-out performance again reinforced a need for selectors to convince him to continue on past this series and not retire as he has indicated he would.

With captain Michael Clarke continuing to battle – if he can’t get out of his rut by the end of this series his career must be on the line – and fellow thirtysomething Adam Voges’ immediate future clouded by another poor stroke on day one, the prospect of losing Rogers is a worrying one.

He’s been asked repeatedly about the subject on this tour and is still not giving much away.

“I don’t know. It’s still a long way away,” he said. “I’m just enjoying what’s happening and I will weigh that up when we come to it.”

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