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England looking for big lead over Australia in 1st test

August 2, 2019
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England's Rory Burns celebrates after scoring a century during the second day of the first Ashes Test cricket match between England and Australia at Edgbaston in Birmingham, England, Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
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England's Rory Burns celebrates after scoring a century during the second day of the first Ashes Test cricket match between England and Australia at Edgbaston in Birmingham, England, Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Rory Burns hit his first test century to give England the chance to build a big first-innings lead over Australia as the hosts reached 267-4 at stumps on Friday in the Ashes opener.

England trails Australia by only 17 runs and has a deep batting lineup — No. 9 Chris Woakes hit a test ton against India — still to come.

“It was awesome, a really good experience,” Burns said. “There’s been lots of hard work from a lot of people — coaches, parents. ... That was for them really.”

But Burns wasn’t getting overconfident.

“They’ve still got a newish ball and we’re still behind,” he told Sky Sports.

Burns faced the first and last deliveries of day two, finishing on 125 not out, though Australia missed a chance to dismiss him leg before wicket by not reviewing Nathan Lyon’s delivery when the batter was on 21.

The 28-year-old left-hander, who has an unorthodox style, finally arrived at his first century in his eighth test with a single against Lyon but had to wait for confirmation from the TV umpire that he had safely made his ground.

Ben Stokes (38 not out) is the other batter at the crease and has an unbeaten fifth-wicket stand of 73 runs with Burns.

Burns shared the key partnership of the day — 132 runs for the second wicket with captain Joe Root (57) — after England resumed on 10-0 and quickly lost opener Jason Roy (10).

Root, who was playing at No. 3 instead of his preferred No. 4 slot, was the only batter out in the afternoon session. Peter Siddle reacted quickly by sticking out his right hand — with the umpire already making plans to get out of the way of Root’s shot — and caught and bowled the England captain at 154-2.

Like Burns, Root had also enjoyed an early escape. When he was on 9, Root was given out caught behind off pacer James Pattinson. He successfully reviewed the decision with the video showing Root did not touch the ball, which actually hit his off stump but failed to dislodge the bail. An amused Pattinson checked the bail was not attached to the stumps by lifting it in the air with his hand.

Root was given out for the second time on 14, lbw to Siddle, but he again reviewed and replays showed an inside edge, the latest in a list of errors in this match from the on-field umpires.

After convincing the umpires to provide another ball, Australia hit back in the evening session by claiming Joe Denly (18) and Jos Buttler (5) before Burns and Stokes — man of the match in England’s winning World Cup final against New Zealand last month — came together on 194-4.

England had reached tea at 170-2 after going to lunch at 71-1.

Pattinson took 2-54 for Australia and Siddle was the most economical bowler with 1-43 off 21 overs.

Australia scored 284 all out Thursday when Steve Smith rescued the team with a brilliant 144 on his return to test cricket after a ban for ball-tampering. Australia had stumbled to 122-8.

Australia holds the Ashes, the urn traditionally awarded to the winner of cricket’s oldest regular international series, but England went into the five-test series after winning its first-ever World Cup title in the one-day format. It hasn’t lost an Ashes series on home soil since 2001.

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