CHESTER-LE-STREET: Chris Rogers recorded his third half-century of the series to help Australia recover to 148 for four at tea on the second day of the fourth Ashes test against England in County Durham on Saturday.
The gritty left-handed opener nudged and nurdled his way to 71 not out after three wickets from Stuart Broad had reduced the tourists to 75 for three at lunch in reply to the home team’s first innings 238.
Broad produced a hostile spell of fast bowling under overcast skies and on a pitch offering extravagant seam movement to remove David Warner (three), Usman Khawaja (nought) and captain Michael Clarke (six).
When Tim Bresnan had Steve Smith caught behind by Matt Prior for 17 after lunch, it seemed as though England were ready to run through the Australian lineup.
But former opener Shane Watson (38 not out), demoted to number six for this test, then provided a reassuring presence alongside Rogers and the pair prevented further alarms as they put on an unbroken 72 for the fifth wicket.
Rogers reached his half-century with an edge off Broad that was put down by Graeme Swann as he dived full-length at second slip attempting the catch.
Watson played a classy shot for four through mid-wicket off Broad before following up with two more boundaries off James Anderson, one a clip through square leg and another coming from a venemous pull through wide mid-on.
Prior, making his 71st test appearance, has taken two catches in the innings to move past 200 on England’s all-time wicketkeeping list.
Only Alec Stewart (227) and Alan Knott (250) have taken more catches.
England are 2-0 up in the five-match series.