Ashes Fourth Test preview: Rogers can top first innings bill

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Despite finally delivering an innings to be proud of at Old Trafford, Middlesex opening bat Chris Rogers is handed a handsome handicap in the first innings runs market.

For those unfamiliar with Chris Rogers’ commanding performances for Middlesex, the Aussie opener’s aggressive first innings contribution of 84 in the Third Test would have seemed a little out of character after a nervous start to this Ashes series.

Aside from another half-century in the second innings at Trent Bridge, Rogers had looked a shadow of the man who averages a shade over 50 runs in first class cricket, whilst also racking up 60 centuries in 243 matches at the highest level outside of the test environment.

However, that extended spell at the crease makes his 7/1 price padded out by a +8 handicap by far the most tempting in the market to accumulate the most first innings runs at Chester-le-Street.

When you consider Alastair Cook is afforded just two more runs to tack on to any total he produces when horribly out of nick, that +8 cushion stands out yet further at the same odds.

In fact, outside of Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen’s respective centuries, the highest other first innings offering from any England blade remains a flashy 67 from Jonny Bairstow at Lord’s.

England’s retaining of the urn owes more to their resilience in their second collective stint with the willow than it does to the first.

As for the overall outcome of this game at Durham it’s not an easy one to call after the Australians finally came to the party at Old Trafford.

Nevertheless, with the weather forecast looking favourable in generating a definitive fourth Test result there is history to suggest the home side can prosper at evens.

The last four times England have taken to the field for test matches in the north east they’ve won all four.

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