|England 7-258: Burns 81, Lawrence 67*|
|New Zealand: not hit yet|
England was kept afloat by fighting Dan Lawrence 67 not out on a raucous first day of the second Test against New Zealand in Edgbaston.
In front of a crowd of 18,000 fans, the hosts found themselves 175-6 on blame-free ground despite a fluent 81 from Rory Burns.
At one point, England lost three small points for 13 rounds, and James Brassey later fell for a golden duck to score his second in as many Test innings.
But Lawrence, in only his second home test, added 47 with Ole Stone and then 36 with Mark Wood to pull England to 258-7.
The New Zealand side that showed six changes from the first test drawn took advantage of the motion hint that was on display.
Pace’s bowlers, Trent Bolt and Matt Henry, and left-hander Ajaz Patel, each caught two wickets.
All this on the day James Anderson became England’s most capped cricketer, playing his 162nd match to surpass Alastair Cook’s record.
England’s conflict failed to calm the atmosphere
This was a touching and emotional day for a number of reasons, as the booming crowd was never discouraged by England’s careless performance.
There were 6,500 spectators allowed inside the Lords for each day first test draw, But it is perhaps the closest to normalcy any sport has seen in England since the coronavirus pandemic.
Not only that, but the controversy that began with the revelation Olly Robinson’s Historic Tweets During the first test it grew to include a number of other players and sparked even wider discussion with Prime Minister Boris Johnson He gave his opinion to.
The salute to England before the game was a spine-tingling, the ‘moment of unity’ to stand up against discrimination was greeted with respect, and since then the Hollies stand has been part of this period.
The festivities were not subdued in the obscene manner in which a number of English batsmen surrendered.
By the end, Lawrence’s continued presence allowed optimism that the hosts might publish a reliable total.
Burns and Lawrence rise from the rubble
Burns made a difficult century – his first in Tests since November 2019 – at Lords and followed it up with confident tours of Birmingham.
His fluency even fell behind Dom Sibley, who stopped out for a tie on the final day of the first Test but revealed some eye-catching hits in an opening position of 72.
It was Sibley’s expulsion that broke down the England mini, leaving Burns to continue with light work, high elbows, and great drives.
When he fell, cutting into a second slip, Lawrence was left in charge of the resistance after overcoming an early lbw shout as he got into an ugly tangle against Bolt.
The 23-year-old started off with uncertainty but grew to play late against the Tailors and with authority against Patel.
He clung to Stone – a Warwickshire tailor on the English side for the arrested Robinson – and then thrived in Wood’s company under the evening sun.
New Zealand is moving away
Already without captain Ken Williamson and spinner Mitchell Santner, New Zealand lost wicket-keeper PJ Watling on the morning of the match, then made three more changes with next week’s World Test Championship final in mind.
However, led by the returning left captain Bolt, the Black Berets carried a constant threat, leading England to make a number of mistakes.
Sibley wrestled during the first session before overtaking Henry who left him, while Joe Root started to feel another move the right arm.
In between, Zach Crowley is tempted to drive a wide distance from Neil Wagner to get a duck, and later, Ole Pop is caught behind Battleship’s chops.
The worst came from Brassie, who played a big push on his first ball, only to defeat Bolt on the third slip.
New Zealand was stopped by Stubborn Stone before Patel hit, and met with further challenge from Wood, who stared at the second new ball and flipped after falling behind Bolt.
Lawrence’s roles are ‘exactly what England needs’ – what they said
England opener Rory Burns in the BBC Test Special: “It was so much fun to fight with a crowd. They were so candid all day long.
“Dan Lawrence played beautifully – he’s probably the only hitter who played with some fluency and made it look easy at times. It’s a huge feather in his hat.”
Former England captain Alistair Cook: “Dan Lawrence’s roles were exactly what England needed. The situation helped him because they lost two wickets and he needed to build a partnership and he was able to attack and play his normal game.”
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew: “The support that Mark Wood and Ole Stone have given Dan Lawrence means England can still hit 300.
“I still feel like they’re going to be lucky to get the result they imagined this morning when Joe Root won the lottery.”
Former New Zealand captain Jeremy Cooney: “It’s beautiful. England took the first session, New Zealand took the second, and the third was very even. It’s on standby and England can continue tomorrow.”