Australia blew its chances with the bat on day one in Adelaide but England’s fumbling fielders weren’t much better.
Australia will resume the second day of the second Ashes Test on Friday at 5-273.
Crucially, skipper Michael Clarke is unbeaten on 48.
Clarke had chosen to bat first on a drop-in pitch that was initially regarded by commentators as a road.
However Rogers, who top-scored with 72, said the wicket was already starting to play tricks and felt like a third-day deck.
And with three catches going down including when Clarke was on 18, England hasn’t helped its chances of restricting Australia to a low total.
“It could prove to be quite crucial,” Rogers said.
“Those chances have helped us. To have Michael going out there tomorrow morning, that’s massive for us.”
While at the start of the day a score of 500 looked like par, Rogers say it’s now about 400.
Australia had been cruising at 1-155 before losing 3-19 just on tea.
Rogers, Shane Watson (51) and George Bailey (53) all departed when looking set for big totals, with Watson popping a return catch and Bailey caught at square leg from a pull shot.
Brad Haddin is 7 not out, having been dropped by Michael Carberry at point in a simple chance from the third-last over of the day.
“We spoke about if you get in on this wicket you’ve got to make it count,” Rogers said.
“But a lot of us have contributed and if we can keep going and get 400, that’s going to be a very competitive score.”
Spinner Monty Panesar was the unlucky bowler to Haddin. He also spilled a return catch with Bailey on 10 and Joe Root dropped Clarke at mid-wicket as the pair went on to add 83 for the fifth wicket.
Steve Smith was bowled by Panesar for six on the last ball before tea.
This left Australia reeling at 4-174.
Rogers and Watson both fell with the score on 155 in consecutive overs, ending a 121-run stand.
For Watson, it was his 21st half-century in a career that has yielded only three hundreds. For 36-year-old Rogers, it was a relief to get a score with his spot under some pressure.
Paceman Stuart Broad (2-63) was England’s only multiple wicket-taker on day one although offspinner Swann claimed the key scalp of Rogers and will be suited by the turning deck.
Swann said the match was evenly placed.
“Having lost the toss at Adelaide, you always fear the worst as a bowler but five wickets in the day is a pretty good return,” he said.
“We missed a couple of half-chances that we will rue but if we turn up in the morning and take a couple of quick wickets it will quickly be forgotten.”