|England 258-7: Burns 81, Laurent 67*|
|New Zealand: Still to beat|
England were kept afloat by Dan Lawrence’s 67 fighters who were not eliminated on a hectic 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 flawless ground despite a fluent 81 from Rory Burns.
At one point England lost three wickets for 13 points and later James Bracey fell in love with a golden duck for his second none in as many test heats.
But Lawrence, in just his second home test, added 47 with Olly Stone and then an unbroken 36 with Mark Wood to lead England to 258-7.
A New Zealand team showing six changes from the first test shot exploited the hint of movement that was on offer.
Rhythm bowlers Trent Boult and Matt Henry and left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel claimed two wickets each.
All of this on the day James Anderson became England’s most capped test cricketer, playing his 162nd game to surpass Alastair Cook’s record.
England’s fight fails to tone down the mood
It was a poignant and moving day for several reasons, with the dynamic crowd never being put off by England’s indifferent performance.
There were 6,500 spectators allowed inside the Lord’s for each day of the fired first Test, but it was perhaps the closest to the normalcy experienced in 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 historic tweets during the first test grew to include a number of other players and sparked a wider debate that even Prime Minister Boris Johnson has lent his point of view.
The greetings to England before the game were dizzying, the ‘moment of unity’ to fight discrimination was received with respect and from that point on the Hollies Stand partied for the duration.
The celebrations were not dampened by the tasteless manner in which a number of English drummers made their wickets.
In the end, Lawrence’s continued presence provided some optimism that the hosts could still post a credible total.
Burns and Lawrence recover from the wreck
Burns had a relentless century – his first in testing since November 2019 – at Lord’s and followed it with a confident round at Birmingham.
His fluidity even rubbed off on Dom Sibley, who pulled off the draw on the last day of the first test but put in some eye-catching shots in an opening pit of 72.
It was Sibley’s dismissal that sparked England’s mini-collapse, leaving Burns to continue with light footwork, a high elbow and nice cover discs.
When he fell, cutting on the second slip, Lawrence was left in charge of the resistance after overcoming a first cry for lbw when he tangled up against Boult.
The 23-year-old started out in limbo but grew up playing late against the Seamers and with authority against Patel.
He hooks up with Stone – the England side Warwickshire seamer for the suspended Robinson – then blossoms with Wood in the evening sun.
New Zealand moves away
Already without captain Kane Williamson and spinner Mitchell Santner, New Zealand lost wicket keeper BJ Watling to a stiff back on the morning of the match, then made three more changes thinking of the Championship final. next week’s test world.
Yet, led by returning left owner Boult, the Black Caps carried a lingering threat, dragging England into a number of mistakes.
Sibley beat through the first session before getting ahead of Henry who left him, while Joe Root went for another, his right arm was able to move.
In between, Zak Crawley was brought in to drive Neil Wagner off for a duck and, later, Ollie Pope was caught behind Patel’s cut.
The worst came from Bracey, who played a big drive on his first ball, only to get ahead of Boult on the third slip.
New Zealand were held back by stubborn Stone before he hit Patel, and were greeted with more challenge from Wood, who looked at the second new ball and flipped over while being caught behind Boult.
Lawrence’s sleeves “exactly what England needed” – what they said
England opener Rory Burns on BBC Test Match Special: “It was very nice to be at bat with a crowd. They’ve been pretty vocal all day.
“Dan Lawrence played beautifully – he’s probably the only drummer who has played with any ease and looks easy enough at times. It’s a huge feather in his cap. “
Former English captain Alastair Cook: “Dan Lawrence’s heats were exactly what England needed. The situation helped him as they lost a few wickets and he needed to build a partnership and he was able to attack and play his natural game. “
Jonathan Agnew, BBC cricket correspondent: “The support Mark Wood and Olly Stone have given Dan Lawrence means England could still reach 300.
“You always feel like they’re going to be lucky to get the kind of score they envisioned this morning when Joe Root won the toss. “
Former New Zealand captain Jeremy Coney: “It’s pretty balanced. England won the first session, New Zealand took the second, and the third session was pretty consistent. She is ready and England could continue tomorrow. “