Chris Rodgers
Rodgers hits a boundary on his way to securing a second day century. (Reuters)

A maiden century from Chris Rodgers helped Australia gain the advantage on England on the second day of the fourth Ashes Test at Chester-le-Street.

The 35-year-old opener helped the tourists close the afternoon 222-5 as they still trail the hosts who secured 238-9 on Friday, but will have gained a significant psychological advantage with just a 16 separating the two sides.

England failed to add to Friday's tally as Jimmy Anderson was dismissed early on in the afternoon, but some impressive bowling from Stuart Broad saw the hosts make some early in roads as he dismissed David Warner (3), Usman Khawaja (0) and Darren Clarke (6) as the Aussies were reduced to 49-3 in overcast conditions.

Rodgers was perhaps lucky to not follow his team-mates to the pavilion when the DRS system saved him after being given out caught behind as the hosts looked to peg back the opposition in a swift fashion.

Tim Bresnan, given the nod ahead of Graham Onions, reduced Australia again as he caught Steve Smith (17) with Matt Prior getting the catch, having secured his 200th Test catch earlier in play when he caught Khawaja's thin edge. With the score at 76, the visitors luck changed upon the introduction of Shane Watson who forged a lethal partnership with Rodgers to steady the Aussie ship.

The combination of Rodgers and Watson settled into a comfortable rhythm as the latter hit seven fours in his first half century of the series while a relentless Rodgers maintained his march towards his landmark century.

As James Anderson and Bresnan struggled to unsettle the visitors batsmen, Broad returned to catch Watson down the leg side to halt the Aussie's afternoon at 69, But the masterful Rodgers maintained his presence until the darkening skies saw the afternoon come to a premature end just before 6pm.