Day three of the Ashes – Burns carries the flame for England
Rory Burns will continue his Ashes epic on the third morning of the first Test against Australia, with England looking to turn a strong foundation into a decisive lead.
Burns carried his bat throughout day two at Edgbaston, defying the touring attacking for six and a half hours and 282 deliveries to make 125 not out – his maiden international century.
The Surrey left-hander faced the first ball and the last as he steered England to 267 for four, a first-innings deficit of just 17 with plenty of batting to come.
But while Ben Stokes (38no), Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes represent a dangerous middle and lower order, Australia will first want to see the back of Burns after 90 overs of defiance at the crease.
England’s man of the moment reacted with pride when told the chant ringing out around Edgbaston was last used to laud the country’s record run-scorer.
The Met Office expects a clear morning in the Birmingham area, rising to a 30% chance of rain in the afternoon and evening sessions.
Temperatures are expected to start at 19 degrees, rising to a peak of 22 at around 2pm.
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.
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 Cook had registered a ton on home soil since May 2015.
Paine-ful use of DRS
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 but Paine declined to call for DRS despite having the best view in the house at wicketkeeper – and later reviewed an lbw shout when the ball pitched comfortably outside leg stump.
All eyes on Anderson
There was no real update on the fitness of England’s record wicket-taker James Anderson on Friday, with a full day of batting allowing him to rest the calf injury which saw him restricted to only four overs on day one. The 37-year-old engaged in some light jogging before play and is ready to bat at number 11 if required but his chances of bowling again in the match are unknown.