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England is building a fire that is reducing Australia’s hopes to ashes

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Ben stokes it, Rory burns it, and together England’s batsmen are building a fire that is reducing Australia’s hopes to ashes in Birmingham.

The tourists had to be both lucky enough and good enough to contain England’s first innings, but on day two at Edgbaston they were neither. After tea, there was a semblance of parity and a Test match wavering on its pivot when Jos Buttler fell cheaply with England still 90 runs short of Australia’s first innings. But an undefeated 73-run partnership between opener Rory Burns and all-rounder Ben Stokes tilted the balance England’s way and set the hosts up for a decisive lead.

England's Rory Burns acknowledges the crowd as he leaves the field.Credit:AP

Burns, who played and missed his way to a maiden Test century, taught the Australians a lesson in mental strength. For more than six hours, the Surrey left-hander occasionally middled a cut or drive but more frequently scratched, edged and played down the wrong line. It was unpretty to watch and must have been difficult to experience. But nobody seemed less bothered by it than Burns himself, and........

© Brisbane Times