Ashes 2019: Burns nears hundred as England eye healthy lead
Rory Burns closed in on a maiden Test century and shared a valuable partnership of 132 with skipper Joe Root as England seized the upper hand on day two of the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston.
England's struggles at the top of the order in recent times have been well documented, but Burns and Root each survived early scares to lay a strong platform for their side, contributing 82 not out and 57 respectively.
Steve Smith's spectacular 144 had lifted Australia from 122-8 to 284 all out on day one. However, the momentum had undoubtedly swung back in England's favour by the time tea was taken on Friday.
Burns, who averaged 22 from seven Tests prior to this match, and Root both enjoyed moments of good fortune prior to lunch. The former should have been given out lbw to Nathan Lyon for 21, with Australia failing to call for a review, while Root survived on nine when a James Pattinson delivery clipped his off stump but did not dislodge a bail.
England's captain - in his first Test since moving back up to number three - also overturned a leg-before decision that had gone in favour of Peter Siddle early in the afternoon, replays showing an inside edge that provided further frustration for Australia.
Although Pattinson impressed in the morning session and had Jason Roy caught at second slip for 10, a pace attack lacking Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood struggled to make much of an impact thereafter.
Siddle took a fine reflex catch off his own bowling to dismiss Root just as the batsman was operating with increasing fluency, but Burns held firm despite some particularly nervy moments against off-spinner Lyon, who extracted plenty of turn.
At tea, Burns was two shy of matching his highest Test score and had Joe Denly (nine not out) for company, with England 114 behind and eyeing a significant first-innings lead.