Jolly Rogers flies flag for dominant Aussies
A STINGING blow to the head of Chris Rogers on day two of the fourth Test at the MCG only appeared to have done his batting the world of good.
The adopted Victorian came out and blasted a quick-fire 116 on the fourth day yesterday to give his team a comprehensive eight-wicket win and a 4-0 series lead.
The Aussies will now be raging hot favourites to become the third team in Ashes history, behind Australia's 1920/21 and 2006/07 teams, to win the series 5-0.
The fifth Test in Sydney will start on Friday.
And England will carry a stack of problems into that match.
What will the out-of-sorts team do with its wicketkeeping situation?
Regular gloveman Matt Prior was dumped for this game after a range of blunders in the third Test in Perth.
But his replacement, Jonny Bairstow, was disappointing with both the bat and behind the stumps, dropping a catch and not diving for one he should have yesterday.
Captain Alastair Cook appeared mentally shattered and bereft of attacking ideas, putting his fieldsmen on the boundary, making Australia's fourth-innings chase of a competitive 230 much easier.
And what will England do with its spinning situation?
Off spinner Graeme Swann has retired and his replacement, Monty Panesar, was only given 7.5 overs with the ball yesterday.
After the tourists enjoyed their only dominant day of the series on day two, reducing the hosts to 9-164, the Australians were back to their best yesterday.
Rogers' innings, off just 155 balls, was a triumph of sheer determination and willpower.
He was only re-installed to the national team for the mid-year Ashes series in England.
The veteran moved to Victoria five years ago in search of a better opportunity to play international cricket
And at the age of 36, he received a rousing reception when he crunched a cover drive to bring up his second ton for his country, his first on home soil, the big crowd recognising the struggle the little left-hander has been through to become an Ashes hero.
After scoring 61 in the first innings, Rogers was unlucky not to have been named man of the match. That honour went to Mitchell Johnson for the third time this series for his eight wickets, a catch and a run out in the match,
When Shane Watson (83 not out off just 90) hit the winning runs with a four off Panesar, he embraced his captain Michael Clarke, whose six not out took him past 8000 Test runs for Australia.
That surely dispelled the talk of a rift between the two, before many more hugs and high fives were shared, while the England team on the other hand appears to be in tatters.