Chris Rogers has one more chance to do himself, and Australia, proud before he leaves the Test stage. Rogers, less than a fortnight from his 38th birthday, has confirmed his decision that his 25th Test will be his last.
The determined opener has hinted strongly all summer that he would not be tempted to play on beyond his third Ashes series – and with the urn lost already to England, a rethink was always unlikely.
Australia can only salvage pride from 3-1 down at The Oval, in a match which will also be the last before captain Michael Clarke’s retirement.
Rogers will leave with mixed feelings, but confidence too that he is definitely ending his Test career at the right time.
“I’m 38 this month and I feel old – and I think there are other things to do in life,” he said. “I’ve been lucky enough to play cricket as a living for nearly 20 years.
“It’s been amazing and just such a privilege, but everything good comes to an end.”
Rogers has more than 24,000 first-class runs to his name, including five Test centuries – and a run of seven consecutive 50s for his country earlier this year. The left-hander is also top of Australia’s tour averages, with 437 runs at more than 62 per innings.
“The highs you get (are incredible),” he added. “The 173 I scored at Lord’s is just going to be one of those memories I’ll have forever. That [first] hundred I got at Durham (in 2013), when I was in tears, winning the Ashes, winning in South Africa.
“All those are magic moments that you’ll never get again. That’s going to be the sad part, but I’ve had enough of them now and I can be happy with that.”
He admits to some concerns emanating from twice being hit on the helmet this year, once in practice in the West Indies and then in the middle in the second Test at Lord’s.
Rogers had to retire hurt in the second innings at HQ, and missed two Tests in the Caribbean after being diagnosed with concussion.
The same condition was not detected here, and he was able to return for the third and fourth Tests.
Even so, he said: “Health obviously is the most important thing.
“When you get to 37, 38, you’re starting to wonder whether your reflexes are slowing down, and I’ve been hit in the head a few too many times for my liking of late.
“Facing Mitch Johnson and Mitch Starc in the nets isn’t my definition of fun. I’m well aware that Father Time is probably calling, so I can be happy.”
His one evident regret is that he will not be making his personal Ashes score 2-1 to Australia this summer, having won only his second Test cap at the age of 35 here at the start of the 2013 series defeat and then been part of the team which whitewashed England 5-0 two winters ago.
“I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a lot of disappointment among the group,” he said.
“We came here to win, and we’ve been outplayed. It’s been a difficult week. A lot of guys have felt a bit flat, I imagine.
“But this is a big last game. Obviously it’s Michael’s retirement as well. but not only that, there’s places up for grabs as well in this side, and no-one’s going to be taking that for granted.”