Lehmann banks on one-Test Rogers for the Ashes

Darren Lehmann has made his first major selection call as Australia coach, confirming that veteran batsman Chris Rogers will open the batting alongside Shane Watson in the first Ashes Test.

Darren Lehmann

Having had his place confirmed, Rogers will soon get the chance to deliver on Lehmann’s faith after he was named in the side to face Worcestershire in a final four-day warm-up starting at New Road today.

The decision to install Rogers, a 35-year-old with extensive county cricket experience but just one Test cap over five years ago, at the top of the order appears to end David Warner’s hopes of making the Trent Bridge opener against England on July 10.

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Warner was banned by Cricket Australia up to the first Test after he admitted punching Yorkshire and England batsman Joe Root in a Birmingham bar following the teams’ match at the Champions Trophy.

Warner had harboured hopes of making an immediate return to the side when Mickey Arthur was dramatically sacked and replaced by Lehmann just over a week ago, but he will now have to wait for his chance.

Rogers’s only previous appearance in the Baggy Green was in January 2008, when he made 15 and four against India, but he knows England well having spent time with Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Middlesex.

He captained the latter in the first half of this season, making 790 first-class runs at 65.83, including a top-score of 214 against Surrey.

Rogers said: “Anyone who has been selected doesn’t want to be a one-Test wonder. I had probably given up hope at times but I guess with the new selection committee and retirements of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey it gave me a bit of hope that they would pick an older head.

“I can just enjoy it and really see that there is nothing to lose. I didn’t expect this opportunity and hopefully I can play well. If that happens hopefully we can win a few games as well.”

Lehmann was eager to throw his support behind Rogers, but insists the composition of the final XI has not yet been finalised.

“Watson and Rogers will open the batting for Australia, I’m comfortable with that, they’ll play the first Test,” Lehmann said. “All the rest are in the frame, but Rogers has obviously been picked for a reason by the previous selection panel, he’s had a great summer here with Middlesex, made two big hundreds and been in good form.

“We’re pretty close (to a Test side). It’s one or two (undecided places) and we’ll work those out over the next four or five days.”