England lead but lose four wickets at Edgbaston

England nudged into the lead but lost four wickets as Australia rallied on the third morning of the first Ashes Test.

Resuming 17 behind on 267 for four, the hosts were forced on to the back foot by disciplined bowling from the touring attack.

Ben Stokes was first to go for exactly 50 before three followed in the space of 11 deliveries – centurion Rory Burns falling for an epic 133 before Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow joined the collapse.

At 300 for eight the job of forging ahead had begun but it was the Australians who were carrying the momentum.

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 wide of gully, but he nicked a flat-footed cut off the latter shortly after reaching his half-century.

Burns had started at the same watchful tempo which saw him grind out his maiden hundred, taking 25 minutes to get off the mark with a single and adding just eight to his overnight 125 in 70 minutes at the crease.

There was no indication he was about to increase the tempo and it was no real shock when his marathon seven-hour stay ended, Tim Paine snaring a fine catch off Nathon Lyon.

The off-spinner also reasserted his dominance over Moeen, who he tortured during the previous Ashes series Down Under. Blatantly spooked by the off-spinner, Moeen shouldered arms to a straightening delivery that left him red-faced as it crashed into 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.

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.

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