Chris Rogers enjoyed himself hugely on his return to Lord’s as he scored 104 not out against his former county to guide Somerset to 219 for 2 on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship Division One match against Middlesex.
Former Australian Test opener Rogers, who made 4,812 runs at an average of 50.12 in four seasons at Middlesex from 2011 to 2014, was joined by James Hildreth in an unbroken third wicket stand of 125 in 44 overs. However, play ended 16 overs early due to bad light and rain.
Hildreth made an unbeaten 60 after Rogers had been initially joined Tom Abell in a hard-working second wicket stand of 85 in 30 overs against disciplined bowling after the early loss of Marcus Trescothick.
Trescothick, playing his 600th First Class innings in his 350th match, was leg-before for eight propping half-forward in the sixth over when Toby Roland-Jones straightened one back up the slope. Roland-Jones followed up a new ball spell of 8-4-10-1 by returning immediately after the interval to tempt opener Abell into a drive and had him caught for a 109-ball 41.
From 94 for two Rogers and Hildreth took the game away from Middlesex’s bowlers on another excellent Lord’s pitch. This was a typical Rogers innings, accumulative in his familiar style but also including some top-class strokes, especially the square cut and off drive.
It was the 38-year-old left-hander’s 74th First Class hundred, fourteen of which came in the 60 matches he played in Middlesex colours, and he clearly relished batting against his former teammates after winning the toss to secure first use of a placid surface. It was his first century for Somerset, his fifth county.
Abell, the 22-year-old opener, also did a valuable job for his side – especially early on against the pace and accuracy of Roland-Jones, against whom he clipped one beautiful boundary past mid wicket’s left hand. There was also a perfectly-struck offside four when he advanced one or two steps down the pitch to drive Ollie Rayner’s off spin through extra cover.
He had batted for two hours and 20 minutes, hitting six fours, when Roland-Jones drew him into a rare false stroke but that was as good as it got on day one for Middlesex who, like Somerset, are still searching for a first Championship win of the season after five straight draws.
Rogers only had a few alarms, surviving a big appeal for lbw by James Franklin when he had made 66 and, on 91, playing and missing when he aimed a drive at James Harris. He reached his hundred from 201 balls, in four and three-quarter hours, and has so far hit nine fours.
Hildreth’s fifty took him 118 balls, and he took his cue from his captain in playing very much within himself as the partnership built. In all, Hildreth faced 144 balls, hitting five fours, and his Championship run-tally for the season now stands at 471 at 78.50.
At the end of the day Chris Rogers said: ““It’s been a good day. I was pretty keen to do well in this game and fortunately things went my way including the toss, which was fairly important. We are in a decent position, but probably need to score relatively quickly tomorrow and then put them in, but at the moment we are only two wickets down so we’ll take that.”
Regarding his first century for Somerset Chris said: “I’d like to think I don’t have too much to prove but it’s always nice to try to get the supporters onside and show you are fighting as hard as you can, so to score that hundred meant a lot.”
He added: “This is a relatively important game for us because we are still down towards the bottom and need to start getting some results.”