Rory Burns completed a hugely significant maiden Test hundred after England had been rocked by two early-evening wickets on day two of the Ashes opener at Edgbaston.

Burns averaged just 22 from seven Tests ahead of his Ashes debut, but the Surrey opener picked an opportune time to assuage doubts over his credentials at the highest level, as his side replied to Australia's first-innings total of 284.

The left-hander shared 132 with captain Joe Root (57) following Jason Roy's early departure, but then lost Joe Denly and Jos Buttler in quick succession after tea as a change of ball heralded an improvement in fortunes for Australia.

However, Burns held firm and brought up his century from 224 deliveries in the company of vice-captain Ben Stokes.

England were 205-4 when Burns moved to three figures, trailing by 79 and hoping to secure a substantial lead, particularly given the uncertainty over whether James Anderson will be fit to bowl in Australia's second innings.

Burns rode his luck at times and was fortunate on two counts after being rapped on the pad by Nathan Lyon on 21. Umpire Joel Wilson incorrectly turned down Australia's appeal and the tourists declined the opportunity to review when they could have overturned that decision.

Following that scare, Burns showed plenty of grit and determination to surpass his previous Test best of 84. After some nervy moments in the nineties and 10 deliveries on 99, he reached his hundred by scampering through for a quick single off Lyon.

Rory Burns closed in on a maiden Test century and shared a valuable partnership of 132 with skipper Joe Root as England seized the upper hand on day two of the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

England's struggles at the top of the order in recent times have been well documented, but Burns and Root each survived early scares to lay a strong platform for their side, contributing 82 not out and 57 respectively.

Steve Smith's spectacular 144 had lifted Australia from 122-8 to 284 all out on day one. However, the momentum had undoubtedly swung back in England's favour by the time tea was taken on Friday.

Burns, who averaged 22 from seven Tests prior to this match, and Root both enjoyed moments of good fortune prior to lunch. The former should have been given out lbw to Nathan Lyon for 21, with Australia failing to call for a review, while Root survived on nine when a James Pattinson delivery clipped his off stump but did not dislodge a bail.

England's captain - in his first Test since moving back up to number three - also overturned a leg-before decision that had gone in favour of Peter Siddle early in the afternoon, replays showing an inside edge that provided further frustration for Australia.

Although Pattinson impressed in the morning session and had Jason Roy caught at second slip for 10, a pace attack lacking Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood struggled to make much of an impact thereafter.

Siddle took a fine reflex catch off his own bowling to dismiss Root just as the batsman was operating with increasing fluency, but Burns held firm despite some particularly nervy moments against off-spinner Lyon, who extracted plenty of turn.

At tea, Burns was two shy of matching his highest Test score and had Joe Denly (nine not out) for company, with England 114 behind and eyeing a significant first-innings lead.

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes the ICC should end its policy of appointing neutral umpires for Test matches.

At present, umpires are only allowed to stand in Tests providing they do not hail from one of the countries involved.

However, this significantly restricts the number of officials available for the Ashes, given seven members of the ICC's 12-man elite panel are English or Australian.

Pakistan's Aleem Dar and the newly promoted Joel Wilson of West Indies have been guilty of a host of errors during the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston. After seven blunders on the opening day alone, they combined to make three more mistakes in just over a session of play on Friday.

Ponting told cricket.com.au: "I would like to think the game has come far enough now for the game to not have neutral umpires.

"People might say that with all the technology we've got now, it doesn’t matter that much. But it's not a good spectacle when pretty obviously wrong decisions are made. There's been a lot of negativity about the DRS [Decision Review System] over the years, but we're pretty lucky that we had it [on day one]."

As a member of the MCC's Cricket Committee, Ponting intends to make sure the matter is considered by the game's decision-makers.

"It's already been spoken about a lot among the players. If it's not brought up [at the next MCC meeting], I'll make sure it's added to the agenda," he added.

"Surely [English umpire] Richard Kettleborough and the like would want to be umpiring the best series. The best umpires can end up missing out on all the big tournaments.

"It could force umpires into retirement a bit early as well when someone like [former Australian umpire] Simon Taufel is spending most of his life [overseas], which is a bit harder than spending your time in Australia."

England only lost one wicket on a tense second morning in the first Ashes Test, but Rory Burns and Joe Root survived major let-offs prior to lunch.

After resuming on 10 without loss in reply to Australia's 284 all out, which owed much to Steve Smith's spectacular 144, the hosts saw Jason Roy depart for 10 but avoided any further setbacks as they battled to 71-1.

Australia could feel somewhat hard done by, however, given Burns should have been adjudged lbw for 22 and England captain Root had a lucky escape on nine when a delivery from James Pattinson clipped his off stump but failed to dislodge a bail.

At the interval, Burns was unbeaten on 41, having played some attractive strokes in an encouraging innings, while the ultra-cautious Root had 11 to his name from 57 balls in his first innings since moving back to number three.

Pattinson, playing his first Test since February 2016 after a horrendous run of injury problems, was comfortably the pick of Australia's pacemen on Friday morning and twice found Roy's edge before having the opener caught by Smith at second slip.

Burns looked far more comfortable than his Surrey team-mate, although his progress was not entirely assured.

The left-hander took a glancing blow to the helmet from Pat Cummins and was then fortunate to survive when an appeal for lbw from Nathan Lyon, who found plenty of early turn, was turned down and Australia failed to call for a review despite Hawk-Eye showing the ball would have crashed into leg stump.

Root was then given out caught behind off the impressive Pattinson, but he reviewed successfully as it became apparent the ball had brushed off stump rather than his bat.

Mark Wood has been ruled out of playing any part in the Ashes after undergoing knee surgery.

Wood was already set to miss a sizeable chunk of England's home Test series with Australia, which got under way at Edgbaston on Thursday, after sustaining a side strain during his country's dramatic Cricket World Cup final victory.

The paceman's hopes of featuring in the fourth and fifth Tests have now been ended, after it was confirmed he has undergone an operation on a knee problem that was also picked up in the course of the World Cup campaign.

A statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board on Friday read: "England fast bowler Mark Wood has had left knee surgery to address an injury sustained during the ICC Cricket World Cup.

"The Durham player will continue rehabilitation for this and the left side strain that he sustained in the World Cup final.

"As a result of these injuries, he will be unavailable for any cricket for the remainder of the [English] season."

The news comes as a further blow to an England side weakened by James Anderson suffering a calf injury on the opening morning of the Ashes.

Anderson bowled only four overs on Thursday before reporting "tightness" in his left calf and being sent for a scan.

The 37-year-old seamer looked relatively untroubled as he underwent a fitness test at Edgbaston on Friday morning, but the nature of his injury has yet to be confirmed.

Steve Smith has continually tormented England and the Australia star added to the list with one of his best centuries in the first Ashes Test.

Smith produced his 24th Test ton at the perfect time, rescuing the tourists from a poor position on the opening day at Edgbaston on Thursday.

This surely ranked as one of Smith's finest knocks and marked his ninth century in Ashes Tests, a tally bettered only by Don Bradman (19), Jack Hobbs (12) and Steve Waugh (10).

We take a look at Smith's five best Ashes centuries.

2019 Ashes, first Test: 144 in Birmingham

This will rank as one of Smith's finest in his career, not just against England. Playing his first Test since a ball-tampering ban, Smith was booed by the locals and quickly found the team he used to captain floundering. He arrived at the crease at 17-2 and was running out of partners as Australia were reduced to 122-8, their chances of starting the series with a win deteriorating. Smith was only on 42 when Pat Cummins fell, but he managed to put on an 88-run stand with Peter Siddle (44) and 74-run partnership with Nathan Lyon (12), making a 144 featuring 16 fours and two sixes to get the tourists to 284.

2017-18 Ashes, first Test: 141* in Brisbane

Ashes openers just happen to be Smith's thing. The right-hander also set the tone for the 2017-18 series at home, comfortably scoring the most runs as Australia claimed a 4-0 success. With England bowled out for 302, Smith arrived at the Gabba crease with his team 30-2 in response. As he so often has, he carried his nation with a superb unbeaten 141 – none of his team-mates made more than 51 – to help Australia to an unlikely first-innings lead and later, a 10-wicket victory.

2017-18 Ashes, third Test: 239 in Perth

Smith made 687 runs during this series and Shaun Marsh was the second highest scorer … with 445. As England marvelled at centuries from Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow after batting first in Perth, Smith – in at a slightly better but still not great position at 55-2 – delivered a career-best 239 in a series-clinching win. He put on a 301-run partnership with Mitchell Marsh (181) as Australia took a 3-0 series lead.

2015 Ashes, second Test: 215 in London

Already trailing 1-0 in the series, Australia needed a response at Lord's and they got one on the opening day thanks to Smith and Chris Rogers. Smith would go on to post 215 and the opener made 173 as Australia reached 566-8 before declaring but having taken complete control of the Test. There was no way back for England and Smith also belted a 48-ball 58 in the second innings to level a series the hosts would go on to win.

2013-14 Ashes, third Test: 111 in Perth

England in Perth has been to Smith's liking and his century helped Australia wrap up a series win in 2013-14. At 106-3, the hosts were in a solid position but needed their middle-order to stand up and Smith, as usual, did just that. His 111 was the only century by any batsman in the first innings and, during what was an otherwise quiet series by his standards, Smith managed to deliver again as Australia romped to a 5-0 win.

The others...
2013 Ashes, fifth Test: 138* in London
2013-14 Ashes, fifth Test: 115 in Sydney
2015 Ashes, fifth Test: 143 in London
2017-18 Ashes, fourth Test: 102* in Melbourne

Steve Smith relished the opportunity to quickly put his Test lay-off behind him with one of his best Australia centuries in the longest format.

Australia were rocking on the first day of the Ashes opener at Edgbaston either side of Smith's arrival at number four, reduced to 122-8 as Stuart Broad dominated for England.

But former captain Smith, playing for the first time since his 12-month ban for his role in the ball-tampering scandal, kept plugging away.

A magnificent knock of 144 off 219 went a long way towards silencing the boos in the England crowd and Smith acknowledged it would have to go down as one of his greatest Test innings, dragging Australia back to 284 all out.

"It's got to be one of my best hundreds definitely," he said. "It's the first Ashes Test match and the ball was doing a fair bit out in the middle, so I had to work really hard.

"I got beaten a few times but let that go and concentrated on the next ball and kept digging in.

"I know the first Test of an Ashes series is always big, so I didn't want to give my wicket up easily, I wanted to keep fighting and, fortunately, I was able to dig in and get us to a reasonable total.

"I thought Peter Siddle did a magnificent job, with that partnership we were able to build, and Nathan Lyon was magnificent. He actually said to me that was the most nervous he's ever been out in the middle batting.

"To be able to get to 100 and give him a really big hug and let all my emotions out was pretty special."

Smith was asked if the century had special meaning given his involvement in the fiasco in South Africa last year, but he insists he has already moved on.

"That's all in the past now. I'm moving on," he said. "I'm proud to be back here, playing for Australia and hopefully contributing to a Test win here.

"There's obviously a long way to go, but we've got ourselves a reasonable total. Hopefully we can start really well with the new ball."

Smith added: "There were times throughout the last 15 months where I didn't know if I was ever going to play cricket again. I lost a bit of love for it at one point – particularly when I had my elbow operation.

"It was really bizarre that it was the day I got the brace off my elbow that I found a love for it again.

"It was like a trigger that just said, 'I want to go again, I want to play, I want to play for Australia and make people proud, do what I love doing'.

"I'd never had those feelings before where I didn't have a great love for the game. It was there for a little while and, fortunately, that love's come back.

"I'm really grateful to be in this position now, playing for Australia again and doing what I love."

Steve Smith's sublime innings showed England that big runs can be scored in the opening Ashes Test, according to Stuart Broad.

On his first Test appearance since being banned following his role in the ball-tampering scandal, Smith put on a masterful display at Edgbaston, hitting 144 from 219 delivers to rescue the visitors after they slumped to 122-8.

Broad, who brought up his 100th Ashes wicket by dismissing Smith late on, starred for England with the ball after fellow paceman Jimmy Anderson had succumbed to injury.

With England set a target of 284, Rory Burns and Jason Roy batted out the last two overs of play for 10 to leave the match finely poised heading into day two.

And though Broad recognised the damage Smith's knock had done to England's hopes, he also felt it should provide inspiration as they look to build a total in Birmingham. 

"He's played beautifully. He's always been awkward to bowl at," he said.

"But I think we bowled really well at him up until tea. I think he then took advantage of the ball being a bit softer.

"Virat Kohli did similar to us last year, getting 149 out of a lowish total.

"There's no real positives out of Smith getting 144 on the first day of the series, but it shows if we apply ourselves then runs can be scored on there, particularly if you get in.

"It's a tricky pitch to start but if someone goes and gets to 30 we can capitalise."

Broad also understands England must prevent Smith from inflicting similar pain across the series if they are to stand a chance of regaining the urn.

"It seemed like he was really fidgety today and getting a bit frustrated at himself for not hitting a four," he added.

"But maybe that's because I haven't played against him in 18 months and I forgot how much he moves around.

"He's got a fantastic record, so you have to make those first 20 balls count. He's arguably the best batter in the world at batting with a tail, so for us to win this Ashes series we're going to have to get him out early."

Stuart Broad is hoping for good news as England await an update on the full extent of the injury suffered by James Anderson during the first Ashes Test. 

England's leading Test wicket-taker Anderson had been deemed fit to start the series opener after suffering with a calf problem in recent weeks, but an issue with the same muscle saw him limited to just four overs on Thursday.

Broad, who picked up the slack with a superb five-for, revealed the veteran apologised for his inability to aid the cause.

But England are optimistic that a test on the "tight" calf would return positive results.

"[Anderson] went off straight after his spell but didn't say anything and came out back to field. We don't know the full extent yet," said Broad, in quotes reported by BBC Sport.

"He is a bit quiet and came up to the bowlers and said sorry but there is nothing to be sorry about. He is a bit quiet and bit frustrated.

"All we can hope is the news is better than we expect."

Figures of 5-86 included Broad's 100th Ashes wicket, removing the resolute Steve Smith after an outstanding 144 to close the Australia innings.

Having seen the tourists recover from 122-8 to 284 all out, Broad acknowledged he had forgotten quite how exacting such rollercoaster contests can be in one of sport's greatest rivalries.

"I feel quite exhausted," he said. "I think that comes with the emotion of the first day of an Ashes series.

"You forget how emotionally draining these series can be and we went down to a three-man seam attack, which upped the overs.

"Smith played a wonderful knock, but anytime you bowl them out for under 300 on the first day of a Test match, we're pretty happy.

"It looks like there's runs out there if someone gets in, so we should take encouragement from the way he played.

"Australia threw it back at us after tea and I'd expect that throughout the series."

Steve Smith revealed his magnificent innings against England gave him "the shakes" after he came to Australia's rescue in the first Ashes Test.

The former Australia captain struck 144 off 219 deliveries in his first Test appearance since the ball-tampering scandal.

Australia certainly needed their talismanic batsman at his best, having slumped to 122-8 before salvaging a total of 284 at Edgbaston.

And Smith could not hide his emotion after digging his side out of a hole before England closed on 10 without loss.

"I got the shakes a bit and all the hairs on my neck stood up," Smith told BBC Sport's Test Match Special.

"I have worked really hard in the last 18 months to come back and prove a few people wrong. I have heard a few people say I struggle against the seaming ball so it was nice on the first outing here to dig deep and get through.

"I am lost for words at the moment."

Smith, who along with David Warner received a hostile reception from the English crowd during the World Cup, was booed by the home faithful in Birmingham when he was finally dismissed, but the 30-year-old took little notice.

"It doesn't bother me. I don't really listen," he added.

"I did get good support from the Australia contingent. They were very loud and the boys on the sideline and in the dugout were cheering me on. That is what matters to me."

England's Jos Buttler, meanwhile, acknowledged the hosts were frustrated not to have taken full advantage of the position they found themselves in by mid-afternoon.

"It's frustrating, isn't it? He played a fantastic innings," Buttler told Sky Sports when asked to comment on Smith's performance.

"Do you put everyone back and suck it up? I think you have to try and find a way of keeping a dismissal in the game as well. 

"I think we bowled fantastically well, the partnership between Siddle and Smith, it was frustrating that we couldn't break it earlier."

The opening day of the 2019 Ashes was one for Aleem Dar and Joel Wilson to forget as the umpires made a host of incorrect decisions at Edgbaston.

We take a look at the seven errors made by the two on-field officials on Thursday, as Australia made 284 all out.

 

1.1 overs: David Warner is given not out by umpire Dar despite getting a thin edge down the leg side from Stuart Broad. In fairness to Dar, wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow was the only England player to appeal with any gusto.

3.5 overs: Four balls after surviving an England review, Warner is adjudged lbw to Broad by Dar for two. The opener barely consults his partner Cameron Bancroft before walking off, but replays show he should have reviewed the decision, with Broad's delivery projected to slide past leg stump.

14.2 overs: Umpire Wilson turns down a vociferous appeal after England think they have Usman Khawaja caught behind off Chris Woakes. On this occasion, the hosts' review is successful as UltraEdge picks up the finest of edges from Australia's number three.

33.5 overs: England are joyous as Smith pads up to a Broad delivery and Dar raises the finger. An aghast Smith reviews almost immediately and the decision is justified, with HawkEye showing the ball missing off stump.

34.6 overs: The latest umpiring howler arrives just seven balls later. This time, Wilson turns down an lbw appeal from Woakes against Matthew Wade. England review and another on-field decision is overturned.

39.6 overs: Dar decides James Pattinson is lbw to Broad. The batsman opts against a review, perhaps due to the presence of key man Smith at the other end, but replays again show the ball would have missed leg stump.

46.1 overs: Peter Siddle is lbw to Woakes, according to Wilson. A review proves the umpire wrong as a massive inside edge is revealed.

Stuart Broad made Ashes history in the first Test at Edgbaston as he took a five-for to reach 100 wickets in the famous series.

The England seamer was the star of the show for the hosts on the opening day in Birmingham as Australia were bowled out for 284.

Broad dismissed Cameron Bancroft, David Warner, Tim Paine and James Pattinson as Australia slumped to 122-8, but his search for the fifth wicket that would mark an Ashes milestone proved a frustrating one.

Steve Smith scored a magnificent 144 and anchored stands of 88 and 74 with tailenders Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon to help Australia recover from a precarious position, before he was finally bowled by Broad as the irritated England seamer brought up a century he did not celebrate.

Stuart Broad made Ashes history in the first Test at Edgbaston as he took a five-for to reach 100 wickets in the famous series.

The England seamer was the star of the show for the hosts on the opening day in Birmingham as Australia were bowled out for 284.

Broad dismissed Cameron Bancroft, David Warner, Tim Paine and James Pattinson as Australia slumped to 122-8, but his search for the fifth wicket that would mark an Ashes milestone proved a frustrating one.

Steve Smith scored a magnificent 144 and anchored stands of 88 and 74 with tailenders Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon to help Australia recover from a precarious position, before he was finally bowled by Broad as the irritated England seamer brought up a century he did not celebrate.

Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes put England in control of the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston as Australia collapsed to 154-8 in the second session of a day marked by unimpressive umpiring.

The tourists mounted something of a recovery after being reduced to 35-3 to reach 83-3 at lunch.

Australia added another 16 to that total before Travis Head (35) departed in the sixth over of the afternoon session, trapped in front by one that straightened from Woakes (3-35).

That wicket prompted a collapse in line with pre-series talk of both teams being short in the batting department, England's attack prospering even after James Anderson went for a scan on a tight calf.

However, England were denied the prized wicket of Steve Smith (66 not out), who successfully reviewed after being given out lbw not playing a shot.

Matthew Wade (1) departed in the next over when he was struck on the pad by Woakes and England correctly reviewed.

Captain Tim Paine (5) made a dreadful mistake as he pulled Broad (4-38) to Rory Burns at deep square leg, with James Pattinson following him for a duck two balls later, dismissed lbw before replays showed he should have survived

There was no debate when Pat Cummins (5) fell to Ben Stokes (1-44) via the same mode of dismissal as England ploughed into the Australia tail, although Peter Siddle (7 not out) provided more pain for the umpires as he rightly reviewed after edging on to his pads.

Smith reached his fifty in 119 balls at the end of the same over, he and Siddle surviving until tea with rain in the air in Birmingham.

 

Jofra Archer will play a three-day Second XI fixture for Sussex next week as he looks to get overs under his belt ahead of the second Ashes Test.

Archer was left out of England's team for the series opener against Australia at Edgbaston, having battled a side strain during the successful Cricket World Cup campaign.

However, the Barbados-born paceman is expected to be handed a Test debut later in the Ashes and the chances of Archer featuring at Lord's, which hosts the second match from August 14, appeared to increase on Thursday when James Anderson suffered a fresh injury blow.

Anderson bowled only four overs on the first morning of the opening Test before he was sent for a scan due to "tightness" in his right calf, a muscle he tore last month.

While Anderson's future availability has been placed in doubt, Archer will play for Sussex versus Kent in the Vitality Blast 20-over competition on Friday, before switching to red-ball action for the club's seconds against Gloucestershire from Tuesday to Thursday.

Olly Stone and Sam Curran are the other pace bowlers in England's initial Test squad who missed out on selection at Edgbaston. They have also been released to play for Surrey and Birmingham Bears respectively in the Vitality Blast on Friday.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.