England 267 for 4 (Burns 125*, Stokes 38*) trail Australia 284 by 17 runs
It didn’t quite have the backstory of Steven Smith’s century, but for the second day running the opening Ashes Test witnessed a hugely significant hundred as Rory Burns showed tremendous resilience to score his first for England. He finished unbeaten on 125, forming a substantial partnership with Joe Root of 132 and another steadying stand with Ben Stokes which carried England to 267 for 4 and within sight of what could be a critical lead.
Burns endured a lean Test against Ireland last week with twin scores of 6, his technique, which is unorthodox anyway, appearing out of sync. Before that his Test experience was six games overseas against Sri Lanka and West Indies on tough surfaces, but already the pressure was growing. However, plenty of work between matches and mental strength that he is renowned for by those who know him well brought rich dividends in what has been a hugely troublesome spot for England.
If Australia had reviewed an lbw appeal against Nathan Lyon, Burns would have gone for 22 and if Usman Khawaja had produced a direct hit he was short on 75. Then he spent more than half an hour in the 90s and sweated nine balls on 99 before scampering a single to mid-on from his 224th delivery. Burns celebrated as soon as he crossed the crease, but had to wait a few moments for the official verdict as it went to third umpire. All was fine and he could soak up the applause of a raucous Edgbaston crowd.