By Rob Barnett
Chris Rogers conceded that Australia had their “worst day of the series” today at the MCG.
Rogers’ valiant 61 was the hosts’ sole fifty in a stumps score of 164 for nine that puts them 91 behind on first innings.
Having quickly taken England’s last four wickets this morning to dismiss them for 255, Rogers offered almost lone resistance until in-form Brad Haddin’s smooth 43 not out.
Rogers cited the tourists’ impressive attack today, something also recognised by James Anderson who made three important breakthroughs.
Rogers, part of a side with an unassailable 3-0 Ashes series lead, said: “England are on top (in this Test). I think we’ve had our worst day of the series, but that happens.
“England played very well today. I thought they bowled outstandingly. So we’re up against it but there’s a lot of game to go in this match so we have to fight well for the rest of it.”
Alastair Cook was today able to rotate a five-man attack, a feature of this and the last two Tests when all-rounder Ben Stokes has been included.
Stokes struck just before lunch, having Shane Watson caught behind via an inside edge.
“There’s no doubt that Stokes has helped their attack,” Rogers added. “I think he bowled very well today. He got a crucial wicket in Watson.
“He adds to the depth. One of the things we’ve been able to do well with is when England have had to bowl a lot of overs, we’ve been able to capitalise. So having the extra bowler has naturally helped them.”
Rogers, who plays state cricket for Victoria, said his familiarity with batting at the MCG in the Sheffield Shield was of little benefit today.
“It’s hard work. It’s actually not playing the way a lot of the shield wickets have played this year,” he explained.
“Usually it’s been quite good for batting but at the moment, if the bowlers put it in the right area, it’s very hard to score. So a little bit two-paced but you have to adjust and we didn’t adjust very well today.”
While on 16, Rogers was hit on the helmet by a steepling Stuart Broad delivery, which drew blood from near the left-hander’s right ear.
Broad and several England fielders immediately checked on Rogers’ well being, which the batsman appreciated.
“I don’t tend to sledge much so maybe it’s not just coming back round my way but they were pretty good,” he said.
“Whenever you someone get hit in the helmet it’s generally quite serious. So I think sportsmanship is still alive and well.”