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Day two of the Ashes – Burns hundred puts England in control

The Surrey opener reached 125 not out at Edgbaston.

Rory Burns, centre, celebrates his century (Mike Egerton/PA)
Rory Burns, centre, celebrates his century (Mike Egerton/PA)

Rory Burns celebrated a maiden Test century as he defied Australia’s bowlers for an entire day to hand England the advantage on day two of the Ashes at Edgbaston.

Burns rebuffed the tourists for six and a half hours and faced 282 balls for his unbeaten 125, an old-fashioned opener’s innings boasting the flinty resolve England have been crying out for since Sir Alastair Cook’s retirement almost a year ago.

Australia allowed him one obvious reprieve, failing to refer an lbw shout that would have ended his stay at 21, but nothing should detract from the deep reserves of character he leaned on to see his side to 267 for four – just 17 behind.

Tweet of the day

Continuing the theme of ‘there is a Jofra tweet for every occasion’, many were quick to pick up on this gem from seven years ago when Matthew Wade’s part-time all-sorts were introduced into the attack as Australia sought to shield their frontline bowlers for the new ball. Wade’s solitary over, in which he reached speeds in the mid-70mph, yielded seven runs, one of them a wide after barely landing the ball on the cut strip.

Snap shot

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The Barmy Army declared Friday ‘Ben Stokes Day’ in honour of the all-rounder’s World Cup heroics, with a plane trailing a banner that read: “Arise Sir Ben Stokes – Barmy Army” (Mike Egerton/PA)

Stat attack

England’s problems in settling on an opening pairing following the retirement of Andrew Strauss seven years ago have been well-publicised. Burns’ position before this week came under scrutiny, having averaged 22.28 in his first seven Tests, but he went some way to cementing his place here. His innings was the first time an England opener other than Sir Alastair Cook had registered a ton on home soil since May 2015.

Paine-ful use of DRS

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Tim Paine, right, and the Australia brains trust failed to get their reviews right (Nick Potts/PA)

On-field umpires Joel Wilson and Aleem Dar had another day to forget but Australia captain Tim Paine was just as culpable for his side’s predicament. Burns should have departed for 21 when he was beaten on the inside edge. Australia’s appeals for lbw were minimal and a review did not seem to be considered, but technology highlighted Paine’s error. The ball would have straightened enough to crash into leg stump, handing Burns a major slice of fortune, a position from which he fully capitalised. When the Surrey captain had passed three figures, Paine decided to review when James Pattinson located the opener’s pad. This time, though, ball-tracking showed the delivery had pitched outside leg stump to the delight of the Birmingham crowd, who wasted no time in mocking the Australians.

Top of the shots

Not the most stylish or dashing of batsmen, Burns showed a healthy dose of application a week after England were chided for their meek collapse against Ireland at Lord’s last week. His stoic knock was not without aesthetically pleasing strokes though, the best of his 16 fours a crisp drive off Pat Cummins which bisected the fielders at wide mid-off and extra cover. The stroke took him into the nervous 90s, where he stayed for 54 minutes and 34 balls before pushing the next into the leg side, completing a quick single despite Pattinson’s direct hit at the non-striker’s end from mid-on.

Catch of the day

Peter Siddle is a wholehearted competitor and rarely lets anyone down. The 34-year-old edged out Josh Hazlewood for the final seam bowling spot and went some way towards justifying his selection with a battling 44 to help Australia to a competitive total. He was up to his usual tricks on Friday, probing away and finishing as Australia’s most economical bowler, leaking a miserly 43 runs from 21 overs. However, his most memorable contribution was a one-handed grab to halt a 132-run stand between Burns and Joe Root, whose 57 was ended when a loose drive led to Siddle flinging out his right mitt and holding on to a stunner.

What’s next?

August 3: England v Australia, day three of the first Ashes Test, Edgbaston

PA

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