Imperious Rogers looms large
Chris Rogers moved to within a single of inking his name into Derbyshire batting folklore as he continued to single-handedly play his side into the ascendancy over Surrey in the LV= County Championship.
The Australia left-hander will go into the final day of this opening Division Two match at the Brit Oval needing one run to become the first Derbyshire batsman in history to score single and double hundreds in the same game.
Rogers helped the visitors compile 161 for three by the close, earning a healthy lead of 260.
Fresh from his sublime first-innings 200 that helped Derbyshire to a lead of 99 at the mid-point of the match, Rogers filled his boots again with 13 fours in his 126-ball Sunday afternoon exhibition of strokeplay on an excellent pitch.
Though he lost opening partner Wayne Madsen to a catch at the wicket, Paul Borrington to a nick to slip and then Garry Park, palpably leg-before near the close, Rogers remained completely unruffled in putting a naive Surrey attack to the sword.
When Surrey dropped short, so the diminutive Rogers rocked back to hook and pull without mercy.
Once they pitched up, he simply played late and straight, leaving his impeccable timing to do the rest and speed the ball toward the ropes.
The contest became so one-sided that, as the light faded, rookie home skipper Rory Hamilton-Brown appeared more concerned in denying Rogers his place in history than setting fields to dismiss him.
The day had started with a similar sense of inevitability that Surrey’s Mark Ramprakash would convert his overnight score of 63 into the 109th first-class hundred of his formidable career. He did not disappoint.
The 40-year-old reached the landmark soon after midday with a scurried single to midwicket against the off-spin of Greg Smith.
He faced 184 balls and hit only nine fours, but his contribution to a sixth-wicket stand worth 81 in 26 overs with Gareth Batty was instrumental in avoiding the follow-on.
It took the second new ball in the hands of strapping Derbyshire left-armer Mark Footitt to eventually bring an end to Ramprakash’s 229-minute stay.
His fourth delivery with the new ball nipped away, grazing the outside edge along the way to give Lee Goddard a comfortable catch behind.
Batty’s excellent two-hour 65 took his new county well past the follow-on figure of 302 but, once he drove loosely to cover to give Smith impressive figures of 4-58, Surrey’s hopes of matching Derbyshire’s first-innings 451 were gone.