A stumps total of 337 for one had unwelcome Ashes echoes for England of Trent Bridge 1989 – when they conceded 301 for none on day one – with a dash of more recent vintage from The Oval 2012, South Africa piling up 317 for one as Saturday entertainment.
For much-travelled veteran opener Rogers, his Test-best 158 not out on his ‘home ground’ as a former Middlesex captain was a hugely gratifying way to mark his last international appearance here.
Smith (129no) took the opportunity to immediately restate his world-beating credentials after losing his status as the International Cricket Council’s number one batsman during Australia’s 169-run defeat in Cardiff last week.
For England, full of resounding commitment to attacking intent under new coach Trevor Bayliss as they moved on from Wales to their own capital, this was a reality check of what will be required to regain the urn following their 5-0 whitewash defeat in Australia two winters ago.
On a supremely flat surface, just one clear-cut chance was missed after Michael Clarke won the toss, Smith surviving on 50 when he edged Ben Stokes low to Ian Bell at second slip.
It took until just after lunch for Rogers to take his sequence of half-centuries to eight in his last nine Test innings.
By early evening, for the first time in any of those, he had converted to three figures – his fourth Ashes hundred – with 17 fours from 209 balls.
Smith temporarily accelerated past him, albeit with just nine boundaries and a straight six off Moeen Ali into the members’ seating in front of the pavilion in his 161-ball century.
Rogers’ innings was a trademark example of the unfussy expertise which has brought him more than 24,000 first-class runs and eventually ensured his late flowering as a Test batsman.
His favoured shot on this occasion was the back-cut, off pace and spin, interspersing the familiar accumulation.
England’s sole success was David Warner’s wicket, a moment of individual misadventure which barely put the tourists out of their stride as they took uncontested control.
Warner began cautiously but then, after a rush of boundaries off first-change Mark Wood and Moeen, he fell to the last ball of the off-spinner’s first over.
Wood was dispatched for 24 in his first three-over spell.
Then 10 runs, including successive leg-side fours from the first two deliveries, had already been taken off his replacement Moeen when Warner got greedy, went up the wicket and skewed his shot to deep and wide mid-off where James Anderson took a fine, running catch to end an opening stand of 78 in just 15 overs.
Rogers had opened Australia’s account, from the third ball of the match, with a false shot when he edged Anderson over second and third slip for four.
There were further instances of early discomfort in defence against the new ball, but thereafter he was increasingly composed.
One inside-edge past Rogers’ stumps off Wood on 64, and one off the outside of the bat from Smith past second slip for four off Stokes – shortly before the Bell drop – were rare, and hardly compelling, signs that a wicket could conceivably be in the offing.
Otherwise, on a pitch of little pace and entirely even bounce, the dominance of bat over ball was utterly routine – and resulted in Australia’s highest second-wicket partnership at HQ, this unbroken 259 beating Don Bradman and Bill Woodfull’s previous best 85 years ago.