Ashes 2013: Australia pick Chris Rogers & Shane Watson to open

Chris Rogers

Chris Rogers will open the batting for Australia in the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge next week, coach Darren Lehmann has confirmed.

The 35-year-old has only played one previous Test, but will partner Shane Watson at the top of the order.

"I've dreamt about this but I didn't necessarily believe it would ever come true," Rogers told BBC Sport.

The untried partnership will first take on Worcestershire in Australia's final warm-up match starting on Tuesday.

The team for that match also features 19-year-old left-arm spinner Ashton Agar and seamers Jackson Bird and Ryan Harris.

Rogers, who scored only four and 15 in his solitary Test to date against India in Perth in 2008, has considerable experience of English conditions.

He is the current captain of Middlesex, having also played for Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Northants, and averages 50.38 from 239 first-class matches.

"This opportunity is one that is not going to come too often," added Rogers. "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. In county cricket there are a lot less people watching the game so the intensity will be up - that's what I have to deal with."

Lehmann's endorsement of Rogers is a further example of the new coach stamping his authority on the side since taking over from the sacked Mickey Arthur on 24 June.

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

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

Bird and Harris are given a chance to stake their claim for Ashes places, with Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Peter Siddle all rested.

Agar was called into Australia's touring party in India in March after playing only two first-class matches.

Originally selected in Australia's A squad, he was drafted into the Ashes party last week as a development player and back-up to regular spinner Nathan Lyon and will now stay on for the entire tour.

The first Ashes Test in Nottingham starts on 10 July.

Australian XI to play Worcestershire: Michael Clarke (capt), Shane Watson, Ed Cowan, Chris Rogers, Phillip Hughes, Steve Smith, Brad Haddin (wk), James Faulkner, Ryan Harris, Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Nathan Lyon (12th man).

Top Stories