Fans gather to Edgbaston as Rory Burns and Dan Lawrence come to England’s rescue.

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Fans gather to Edgbaston as Rory Burns and Dan Lawrence come to England’s rescue.

Rory Burns’ calm knock and Dan Lawrence’s evening flourish saved England from losing to New Zealand in front of their largest home crowd since 2019.

On day one of the series-deciding second Test, Burns amassed a hard-fought 81 and Lawrence took over the mantle to end with an eye-catching 67 not out from number six, leaving the hosts 258 for seven.

There was a long-awaited return to the old sights and sounds of the summer game, with 18,000 supporters filling Edgbaston to 70% capacity thanks to the Government’s pilot event initiative.

Along with the loud shouting, beer snakes, and fancy costumes – all of which were done without regard for social distance – there was a glimpse of a more perplexing custom in the afternoon: the English batting collapse.

After a 72-run opening stand between Burns and Dom Sibley, the hosts were 175 for five and in danger of losing control against a visiting side that had made six changes from the drew at Lord’s.

Burns, who scored 187 runs off 187 deliveries to provide some much-needed backbone, and Lawrence, who blasted 11 boundaries in a sparkling display, kept things from becoming any worse.

With his 162nd Test appearance, James Anderson overtook Sir Alastair Cook as England’s most capped Test cricketer, but he was soon putting his feet up in the dressing room after Joe Root won the toss and chose to bat first.

Both teams participated in the pre-arranged’moment of unity,’ with England once again donning anti-discrimination T-shirts, which have gained even more significance since the Twitter tempest erupted after the suspension of Ollie Robinson and has since grown. The crowd erupted in applause, however there were indications that Robinson’s name would be sung later in the day.

Burns and Sibley blocked and left against a swinging new ball in the first hour of play, collecting up a modest 25 points before widening their wings. (This is a brief piece.)

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