After New Zealand’s comeback in the second Test, Rory Burns stands firm for England.

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After New Zealand’s comeback in the second Test, Rory Burns stands firm for England.

On day one of the second Test against New Zealand, Rory Burns gave England some much-needed backbone by scoring an undefeated half-century in a tea score of 152 for four.

Burns reached 73 not out after two sessions, fresh off a century at Lord’s, as a heavily rotated New Zealand assault pressed the hosts hard at Edgbaston.

Burns had shared an opening stand of 72 with Dom Sibley before England lost three wickets for 13 runs to relinquish their grip on proceedings. The game was being played in front of 18,000 supporters, the highest home audience since the coronavirus outbreak broke out.

Even as England faltered, the Hollies Stand was in excellent form, with the noises and sights a welcome return to more typical days.

Captain Joe Root would have been content with a slow-burning opening hour in which Burns and Sibley added a modest 25 runs after opting to bat first. The pair favored the blocks and leaves that were required to shut down a new ball with plenty of early swing, with almost no blatant aggression.

On his comeback to the side, Trent Boult was testing as usual, while Henry scarcely erred from a nagging length. Following the drinks break, the opening batsmen spread their wings, more than doubling the total in a six-over spell.

Before lunch, things quieted down in the middle, if not in the spectators, but the absence of chances made it England’s session. Following the restart, New Zealand lost no time in rebalancing the books, taking up three wickets in the space of five overs.

Sibley, who had batted with care and attention in the morning, only lasted five balls in the afternoon, feeling outside off stump and feathering Henry through to stand-in wicketkeeper Tom Blundell for 35.

That brought the out-of-sorts Zak Crawley to the middle, where he couldn’t shake the cobwebs and ended up with a four-ball duck. The Kent batsman, who had already come dangerously close to losing his off stump to a Neil Wagner inswinger, aimed a. (This is a brief piece.)

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