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Rogers and Smith centuries bring Aussies back with bang

By David Clough

Published 17/07/2015

Triumph and toil: Chris Rogers celebrates after reaching his century
Triumph and toil: Chris Rogers celebrates after reaching his century

Chris Rogers and Steve Smith applied an uncompromising grind in their record double-century stand as England endured a chastening first day of the second Investec Test at Lord's.

A stumps total of 337 for one had unwelcome Ashes echoes for England of Trent Bridge 1989 - when they conceded 301 for none on day one - with a dash of more recent vintage from The Oval 2012, South Africa piling up 317 for one as Saturday entertainment.

For much-travelled veteran opener Rogers, his Test-best 158 not out on his 'home ground' as a former Middlesex captain was a hugely gratifying way to mark his last international appearance here.

Smith (129 not out) took the opportunity to immediately restate his world-beating credentials after losing his status as the ICC's number one batsman during Australia's 169-run defeat in Cardiff last week.

Rogers admitted scoring a Test hundred at the home of cricket was special.

"It's going to be one of the proudest moments in my career I think," he said.

"To score a hundred at MCG then the SCG and then to get one here, it's so special. I have a lot of support here, a lot of friends and it just feels amazing to do it."

Smith was also pleased to reach three figures after coming in for criticism from some quarters despite his ranking as the world's number one batsman.

His unorthodox technique has come under scrutiny but he well and truly silenced the doubters as he and Rogers put on 259 and counting for the second wicket.

"I was disappointed to miss out last game," he said. "I felt quite good at the crease so I was disappointed with the way I played.

"I haven't done so well here at Lord's in the past so I wanted to make it count today and get myself up on that (honours) board and it's really exciting to have done that today."

Smith also admitted it was important to make a statement after the first Test defeat, and added: "It looks a pretty good wicket, well it did this morning when we first got out there, it was a little bit slow and it was one of those wickets where if you got in you needed to go big, that was what we said before the game.

"The way we've batted and put on 250 (as a partnership), good day."

England seamer James Anderson refused to concede that the Test could not still be won despite Australia being on track for a colossal first-innings total.

"There's four days left in the game, if we win four days we win the Test match so we've got to keep looking at it positively," he said.

"We've still got a reasonably new ball in our hands in the morning, you never know, a bit of cloud cover might help us with a bit of swing.

"You've just got to keep going and keep plugging away. We get a couple of wickets in the morning, you never know.

"We've got to bat on this pitch yet so hopefully we can make hay on it."

Anderson toiled for 18 overs as he recorded figures of nought for 64 - Moeen Ali got the only wicket of the day when he removed David Warner to a catch at long-off - and the Lancastrian conceded there was not much assistance in the pitch.

"We stuck at it well all day to be fair, the fielders as well," he said. "We toiled all day but we didn't get many rewards.

"I don't think we bowled as well as we did at Cardiff and on a pitch like that where there's not much seam movement or sideways movement, you're going to get punished like we did today."

He added: "Hats off to the two guys who made hundreds, I thought they played brilliantly throughout the day. They stayed patient, they attacked us when they could and made it really difficult for us to bowl at them for long periods of time and create that pressure.

"We didn't bowl as well as we did at Cardiff so a little bit of frustration there, we bowled too many bad balls and on a good pitch your good balls are going to get hit for four as well.

"When you add them both together you get the score we have now."

Belfast Telegraph

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