Lehmann Gives Rogers Surprise Ashes Opening Slot

by
Reuters
Rookie test batsman Chris Rogers will open for Australia in the first Ashes test against England at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, next week, coach Darren Lehmann said on Monday.

Rookie test batsman Chris Rogers will open for Australia in the first Ashes test against England at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, next week, coach Darren Lehmann said on Monday.

The 35-year-old has only played one previous test, scoring 19 runs in two innings against India at Perth in January 2008.

"I've dreamt about this but I didn't necessarily believe it would ever come true," Rogers told the BBC. "This opportunity is one that is not going to come too often.

"I have nothing to lose and hopefully I can take that attitude into the test match. It's going to be about managing my emotions."

Rogers will partner Shane Watson at the top of the order but first the untried pairing will team up in Australia's final warm-up match against Worcestershire that starts on Tuesday.

Rogers may be a test novice but he has plenty of experience in English conditions. He is the captain of county side Middlesex and has also played for Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Northants.

He averages 50.38 from 239 first class matches.

The team for Worcester also features 19-year-old left-arm spinner Ashton Agar and seamers Jackson Bird and Ryan Harris, as new coach Lehmann rings the changes after taking over from Mickey Arthur who was sacked on June 24.

Last week Lehmann also confirmed Watson's return to the top of the order for the Ashes and the opener responded with a powerful 90 in a tour victory over Somerset.

Rogers's inclusion sees regular opener Ed Cowan move down to number three, with all-rounder Steve Smith handed an opportunity at number six.

Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Peter Siddle are all rested.

Tuesday's game is also a test for Somerset opener Nick Compton, who was replaced by Joe Root for England's warm-up match against Essex this week, but hit 81 against the tourists last week and has been given a "guest" place in the Worcester side.

The first test starts on July 10.