England v New Zealand: Rory Burns & Dan Lawrence keep hosts afloat

England 258-7: Burns 81, Lawrence 67*
New Zealand: Yet to bat

England were kept afloat by Dan Lawrence’s battling 67 not out on a raucous first day of the second Test against New Zealand at Edgbaston.

In front of a rowdy crowd of 18,000, the hosts found themselves 175-6 on a blameless pitch despite a fluent 81 from Rory Burns.

At one stage England lost three wickets for 13 runs and later James Bracey fell for a golden duck for his second nought in as many Test innings.

But Lawrence, in only his second home Test, added 47 with Olly Stone then an unbroken 36 with Mark Wood to drag England to 258-7.

A New Zealand side showing six changes from the drawn first Test exploited the hint of movement that was on offer.

Pace bowlers Trent Boult and Matt Henry and left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel claimed two wickets apiece.

All this on the day that James Anderson became England’s most capped Test cricketer, playing his 162nd match to go past the record of Alastair Cook.

England struggle fails to dampen atmosphere

This was a poignant and emotional day for number of reasons, with the buoyant crowd never discouraged by England’s indifferent performance.

There were 6,500 spectators allowed inside Lord’s for each day of the drawn first Test, but this was perhaps the closest to normality experienced at any sport in England since the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

Not only that, but the controversy that began with the revelation of Ollie Robinson’s historical tweets during the first Test has grown to include a number of other players and sparked a wider debate that even Prime Minister Boris Johnson has lent his view to.

The greeting England were given before play was spine-tingling, the ‘moment of unity’ to stand against discrimination was respectfully received and, from then on, the Hollies Stand partied for the duration.

The celebrations were not dampened by the insipid way in which a number of England batsmen surrendered their wickets.

By the end, Lawrence’s continued presence allowed an optimism that the hosts may yet post a credible total.

Burns and Lawrence rise from wreckage

Burns made a dogged century – his first in Tests since November 2019 – at Lord’s and followed it up with an innings full of confidence in Birmingham.

His fluency even rubbed off on Dom Sibley, who ground out the draw on the final day of the first Test but unfurled some eye-catching strokes in an opening stand of 72.

It was Sibley’s dismissal that sparked England’s mini collapse, leaving Burns to continue with light footwork, a high elbow and handsome cover drives.

When he fell, slicing to second slip, Lawrence was left in charge of the resistance after overcoming an early shout for lbw when he got in an ugly tangle against Boult.

The 23-year-old began with uncertainty but grew to play late against the seamers and with authority against Patel.

He clung on with Stone – the Warwickshire seamer in the England side for the suspended Robinson – then flourished in the company of Wood under the evening sun.

New Zealand chip away

Already without captain Kane Williamson and spinner Mitchell Santner, New Zealand lost wicketkeeper BJ Watling to a stiff back on the morning of the match, then made three more changes with next week’s World Test Championship final in mind.

Still, led by returning left-armer Boult, the Black Caps carried a persistent threat, drawing England into a number of errors.

Sibley batted through the first session before edging one from Henry that left him, while Joe Root went feeling for another the right-armer got to move.

In between, Zak Crawley was drawn into driving at a wide one from Neil Wagner for a duck and, later, Ollie Pope was caught behind cutting Patel.

The worst came from Bracey, who played a big drive at his first ball, only to edge Boult to third slip.

New Zealand were held up by the stubborn Stone before he swiped at Patel, and were met by more defiance from Wood, who stared down the second new ball and overturned being caught behind off Boult.

Lawrence’s innings ‘exactly what England needed’ – what they said

England opener Rory Burns on BBC Test Match Special: “It was very enjoyable to be batting with a crowd. They have been pretty vocal all day.

“Dan Lawrence has played beautifully – he’s probably the one batsman who has played with some fluency and made it look quite easy at times. It is a massive feather in his cap.”

Former England captain Alastair Cook: “Dan Lawrence’s innings was exactly what England needed. The situation helped him because they lost a couple of wickets and he needed to build a partnership and he was able to attack and play his natural game.”

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew: “The support that Mark Wood and Olly Stone have given Dan Lawrence means England could still get to 300.

“You still feel like they’ll be lucky to get the sort of score they imagined this morning when Joe Root won the toss.”

Former New Zealand captain Jeremy Coney: “It is pretty even. England took the first session, New Zealand took the second and the third session was pretty even. It is poised and England could go on tomorrow.”

Around the BBC - SoundsAround the BBC footer - Sounds

Source link