Australia’s Chris Rogers, formerly of Derbyshire, fell five runs short of a century in the first Ashes Test in Cardiff, but was happy just to have made a big score after admitting to a bout of pre-match nerves.
Rogers’ 95 made him Australia’s top scorer as they reached 264 for five having seen off England’s tail in the morning to bowl out the hosts for 430.
The 37-year-old, who is playing in his final Test series, somewhat fortuitously clubbed his first Test six but was denied a ton as he was caught behind off Mark Wood with Australia on 180 for three.
“When I woke up this morning I was pretty nervous so I would probably have taken that 95,” Rogers told Sky Sports. “It’s always disappointing when you get so close and maybe I could have done a slightly better job for the side.”
Asked what was the cause of his nerves, Rogers said: “It’s such a big series, it’s the Ashes, and I don’t really start series well so it was nice to have a good start.”
Rogers announced before the Ashes that this would be his final series, but he insisted he was not feeling any extra pressure.
“I plan to really enjoy this,” he said. “Even though I was nervous, these are opportunities I’ll never get again so I’ve got to make the most of it.”
Rogers admitted that the late loss of Adam Voges, out for 31, perhaps left England on top but he believes the match remains finely balanced.
“I think it was an excellent day of Test cricket, with both teams going at each other pretty hard,” he said.
“England might have the slight upper hand but we’ve got some good batting to come so if we can get a bit closer we’ll put the pressure on and you never know what can happen.
“We’re going to have to play a really good game from here on in.”
England all-rounder Moeen Ali began the day by playing plenty of attacking strokes in adding 51 to his overnight score to reach 77, and then claimed two wickets with the ball.
“Cooky said to everybody to play the way they play,” he said. “I wanted to go out and be aggressive, play my shots and entertain everyone.
“It’s difficult to play shots straight away, but that’s what I tried to do this morning. You have to enjoy it. You’re taking on some of the fastest bowlers in the world. For me the best way to play is to take it on.”