Ashes 2019: Maiden hundred from Rory Burns puts England in pole position against Australia at Edgbaston

Opener finishes second day unbeaten on 125 with his side 17 runs behind with six wickets remaining in their first innings

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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Rory Burns hit his maiden Test hundred to put England in a strong position on the second day of the first Ashes Test against Australia at Edgbaston.

The Surrey opener batted throughout the day in Birmingham to finish unbeaten on 125, facing 282 balls and hitting 16 boundaries.

England will start Saturday's third day, which begins at 2pm UAE time, 17 runs behind Australia's first innings score of 284 on 267-4.

Burns rode his luck at times as he was tested by Australia's persistent pace attack, but he earned his fortune with a series of cracking shots in the second half of the day.

He proved the rock of England's innings as they move in on Australia's score.

Fellow opener Jason Roy (10) and fallen early in the day to James Pattinson (2-54), but Burns and captain Joe Root (57) put on a stand of 132 for the second wicket to steady things.

Root fell caught and bowled to Peter Siddle, and when Joe Denly (18) and Jos Buttler (5) both fell quickly afterwards the English reply looked to be teetering at 194-4.

But Burns battled on to reach three figures for the first time in a Test match. He and Ben Stokes (38 not out) rallied in the closing hour with a series of boundaries.

Particularly with James Anderson unlikely to bowl in Australia's second innings due to concern over a calf injury, England will look to bat on deep into the third day to try and build a big first innings lead.