Ashes centurion Chris Rogers has revealed that Graeme Swann's shock retirement on the eve of the Boxing Day Test gave him the leg-up he needed to achieve the greatest moment of his career.
"To win a game, get a hundred in a fourth innings and run down a total, in cricket terms that's as good as it gets," Rogers said as he reflected on his rock-solid 116 at the MCG that underpinned Australia's fourth straight Ashes win.
"The first century (at Chester-le-Street) was fantastic because you can never take a hundred away from you but we lost that game so it was bitter-sweet.
"But when you win a game in the fourth innings it's just such joy. It was as good as anything I've ever accomplished in cricket."
Rogers admitted that his battles with Swann, the outstanding England off-spinner who claimed his wicket seven times in 15 Ashes innings before retiring last week, had sapped his mental energy like no other challenge in the game.
He entered the fourth Test feeling unburdened because he knew Swann's absence would leave him with greater reserves of mental stamina to confront the other England bowlers.
Rogers responded with 61 in the first innings before his second Ashes century on the last day.
"Congratulations to Swanny for such a great career but I was probably the biggest winner out of it all," Rogers said. "There have been times when I've felt pretty good at the crease and comfortable except for Swann.
"He was the one guy I've always found difficult just to score runs.
"With him out of the side it was not going to be mentally exhausting having to face their attack."
Rogers will take a break from cricket after the fifth Test but can plan to travel to South Africa in February to take on Test cricket's two highest-ranked bowlers in pacemen Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander.
Although he returned to county cricket after the winter Ashes series, Rogers learnt that he was better off staying away from cricket in the aftermath of an intense Test campaign.
"There is no chance in hell (of playing club cricket)," he said.
"I am going to take some time off and just recoup really. Playing cricket 12 months of the year you have to have some time off."
Rogers has no commitments for Victoria until after returning from South Africa in March.
He is now on the verge of 10,000 shield runs, has passed that mark in county cricket and his career tally of 21,128 runs passed the first-class record of his former teammate and coach Tom Moody.
Meanwhile, former Test star Mike Hussey has called for patience with middle-order successor George Bailey, backing him as the man for the job.
Bailey has made an inconsistent start in Australia's No.6 spot where Hussey dominated before quitting international cricket early this year, averaging 27.
"I don't think he's a weak link at all, every Test match he plays we win," Hussey said. "It's not easy to come into Test cricket and hit the ground running, it takes time." DID YOU KNOW? 7 The number of times Graeme Swann claimed the wicket of Chris Rogers in 15 Ashes innings