England's Burns lauds Lawrence after tough day against New Zealand

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Cricket bat (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Cricket bat (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

England's Rory Burns may have ground his way to a valuable 81 on the first day of the second Test against New Zealand at Edgbaston on Thursday but what really impressed the opener was team-mate Dan Lawrence's brisk fifty.

Burns batted for more than two full sessions, facing 187 balls, before England reached stumps on 258-7.

They were a long way from that total, however, at 175-6 after the Surrey left-hander and James Bracey fell to successive deliveries from Trent Boult.

Lawrence though ensured Burns's hard work was not wasted courtesy of a stylish 67 not featuring 11 fours that delighted a crowd of some 18,000, two-thirds of full capacity, following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions by the British Government.

"It was good to watch wasn't it? Loz played beautifully," said Burns, who himself fell just short of a second hundred in as many weeks following his century at Lord's in the drawn opening Test of this two-match series.

"He enjoys his flair and some of his shot-making was brilliant today," added Burns, who admired how Lawrence coped with a "slightly two-paced" pitch.

"I was watching inside with Sibs (Dominic Sibley) and he hit a punchy cover drive...it was a dot in the end but I was like 'what a shot that is'.

"How he played there and how he managed to be so fluent on that kind of surface was really impressive."

As for his own feelings after not quite completing another Test hundred, Burns said: "It would have been nice wouldn't it?...To back up the runs at Lord's with another good score is something I'm pretty happy with, but I'm disappointed not to get it home".

New Zealand had made an extraordinary six changes from Lord's, with half of those injury-enforced and the others a nod to their involvement in next week's inaugural World Test Championship final against India at Southampton.

Matt Henry, who replaced new-ball spearhead Tim Southee, returned fine figures of 2-66 in 22 overs -- a haul that included the key wicket of England captain Joe Root for just four.

Henry was particularly taken by the atmosphere generated by the largest attendance at an England match since the pandemic.

"Special mention to the crowd, they were fantastic. The Hollies Stand was just electric all day," he said.

"They were phenomenal, you can see the excitement of everyone getting back into cricket and into stadiums. It was some impressive energy."

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