Ashes Test: Bring it on, says defiant Aussie opener
CRICKET: Veteran opener Chris Rogers knows there will be nowhere to hide in the third Ashes Test starting at Edgbaston tonight.
The 37-year-old retired hurt after experiencing dizzy spells in the second innings of the second Test at Lord's, but has been given the all clear to resume playing, and showed no sign of any ill-effects at training this week.
Rogers took a blow just above his right ear from England seamer James Anderson at the start of the second day's play at Lord's, with tests later ruling out a concussion similar to the one that sidelined him during the team's tour of the West Indies earlier this year.
Unlike the bare strip at Lord's, the pitch at Edgbaston is expected to provide some assistance to the quicker bowlers.
After completing a session of running, fielding and batting in the nets, Rogers told reporters he was confident he was right to go, at the same time acknowledging he would be targeted by the England quicks.
"I'm not stupid, I know they'll come even harder at me, but who knows?" he said.
"It looks like a green wicket, so if they're bowling short that may work well for me.
"They've still got to pitch it up at some stage, but I know full well they're going to come hard - that's part and parcel of opening the batting."
With 327 runs in the series at an average of 109, and playing in his last Tour, selectors would have no reason to leave Rogers out provided he has been fully cleared.
It seems fellow 37-year-old Brad Haddin won't be as fortunate, however.
After missing the Lord's Test for family reasons, the New South Wales gloveman could be overlooked after replacement Peter Nevill didn't put a foot wrong on his debut in the baggy green.
While Haddin put down a simple chance off Joe Root in the first Test at Cardiff, which ended up costing 134 runs and potentially the match, before making 22 and 7 with the bat, Nevill was highly impressive in the second Test.
He set a new record for a wicketkeeper on his Ashes debut with seven dismissals, and made 45 on his only visit to the crease.
England has made just one change to its line-up after the 405-run thrashing at Lord's, recalling Jonny Bairstow for Gary Ballance.
That means opener Adam Lyth, who has averaged just 25 in his past eight Test innings, and Ian Bell, promoted to No.3 despite an average of 14.5 in the same period, will be under extreme pressure to produce some runs.
That task won't be made any easier by the Australian pace battery of Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and all-rounder Mitch Marsh, with Starc saying the fast men were ready to "shake things up".
"We have got extra pace on our side," he said.
"Hopefully there is a bit of pace in this wicket and it is a bit harder than the other ones we have played on. The short stuff will definitely be on the menu."
- APN SPORTS BUREAU
Australia (likely): David Warner, Chris Rogers, Steve Smith, Michael Clarke, Adam Voges, Mitch Marsh, Peter Nevill, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.
England: Adam Lyth, Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, James Anderson.