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rory burns

Rory Burns' maiden Test ton gives England Ashes ascendancy

Eng v Aus, 1st Test, day two, report

Rory Burns answered his critics with a superb maiden Test century, batting all day to give England the advantage on day two at Edgbaston.

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The opener came into the game facing questions over his spot in the side, having averaged only 22 in seven Tests until now, and coming in off the back of a pair of sixes against Ireland.

He had some fortune, surviving an lbw appeal against Nathan Lyon which replays suggested would have been overturned had Australia reviewed, and played and missed and edged repeatedly. There were also extended periods when he had to scrap, notably the 34 minutes he spent in the 90s, and the 10 balls he spent on 99.

Burns answered his critics with a superb century
Burns answered his critics with a superb century

But he always redoubled his efforts, trusted his method, and thoroughly deserved his score. He received strong support from captain Joe Root, who gave Peter Siddle a return catch when 57, though he too enjoyed significant fortune, given caught behind, only to be saved on review when replays revealed the ball had clipped off stump rather than his bat on its way through to the keeper, the bails remaining unmoved.

Until Ben Stokes joined Burns late in the day - the pair added 73 to ensure England ended the day on top - Burns had little other assistance. Jason Roy nicked off early on for 10, while Joe Denly and Jos Buttler were both victims of a fine spell of reverse swing bowling from Pat Cummins and James Pattinson.

James Pattinson was the pick of the bowlers
James Pattinson was the pick of the bowlers

Using a recently changed ball, the pair found prodigious movement, with Pattinson accounting for Denly leg-before and Buttler edging Cummins to Cameron Bancroft. England looked in danger of losing the ascendancy, but Burns refocused after reaching his hundred; he was never going to let the day be anyone's other than his.

Australia's seamers toiled hard, and Lyon found appreciable turn, suggesting spin could become more of a factor later in the Test match. But before the new ball was taken, they were forced into bowling part-timers Matthew Wade and Travis Head, and soon after the new ball was taken, Lyon was called into action again.

Australia endured a frustrating day in the field
Australia endured a frustrating day in the field

Burns ended unbeaten on 125*, with Stokes 38*. England will resume tomorrow on 267/4, trailing Australia by 17 runs, and seemingly intent on building a big lead.

 

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