Australia fight back on third morning at Edgbaston
England scrapped their way to a 44-run lead on the third morning of their Ashes opener against Australia, losing four for 61 in the opening session at Edgbaston.
Resuming just 17 behind, the hosts were well positioned to build a dominant position but were forced to work hard for a lunch score of 328 for eight by a disciplined bowling display.
A marathon maiden century from Rory Burns finally came to an end on 133, the left-hander adding just eight to his overnight score in 70 minutes at the crease, with Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow also dismissed.
Stokes was the only batsman to show any fluency, driving James Pattinson down the ground with the full face of the bat and angling Pat Cummins for four past gully to reach 50.
That was as good as it got for the all-rounder, who aimed a flat-footed cut at Cummins and nicked through to Tim Paine.
Burns had started at the same watchful tempo which saw him grind out his first international hundred, taking 25 minutes to get off the mark with a single, and never looked liked imposing himself.
After more than seven hours in the middle he was undone by Nathan Lyon’s off spin, edging to Paine who held on instinctively.
Next up was Moeen – the man who Lyon dismissed seven times in nine innings during the last Ashes tour Down Under. Moeen is short of form anyway with the bat and his demise for a five-ball duck was almost hard to watch.
Lyon went round the wicket and sent one on with the arm, Moeen offering no stroke as the ball crashed into his off stump.
Bairstow’s first scoring shot, a crisp flick off the hips, put England into the lead but he managed only eight before steering Peter Siddle to David Warner at slip.
The middle order efforts were put in the shade by Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad, who added an unbroken 28 for the ninth wicket before the break.
Earlier, James Anderson had a gentle bowl on the practice wickets, tentatively going through his action following the calf injury which restricted him to just four overs in the first innings.
The 37-year-old has been passed fit to bat if required but no decision has been made on whether or not he will bowl again in the game.