England’s Rory Burns says Hollies Stand crowd at Edgbaston might be best in world cricket

England’s Rory Burns and New Zealand’s Matt Henry greet Edgbaston fans as 18,000 hit the ground on the first day of the second test; Burns is disappointed not to reach another century, but praises Dan Lawrence’s style as the Essex batsman meets England at the end of the day in Birmingham.

Rory Burns of England believes that the Hollies Stand crowd at Edgbaston is arguably the best in world cricket, as fans returned to the ground in droves for the first day of Test 2 against New Zealand.

This week up to 18,000 fans are allowed at the Birmingham venue, many of them at the Hollies Stand, which is famous for its vocal and festive atmosphere.

Fans at Edgbaston on Thursday saw Burns (81) and Dan Lawrence (67th) help the hosts to 258-7 and both Burns and New Zealand locksmith Matt Henry praised their presence.

“It was brilliant. The Hollies Stand is impressive, as good as it definitely is in this country and possibly in world cricket. The atmosphere was brilliant,” England starter Burns said.

Henry, who picked up the wickets of Dom Sibley (35) and Joe Root (4) as New Zealand cut England from 67-0 to 175-6 before Lawrence led a late rally, added: “Special mention to the crowd, they were fantastic.

“The Hollies Stand was just electric all day. They were phenomenal, you can see the excitement of everyone going back to cricket and stadiums. It was amazing energy.”

In his ninth test fifty, which followed his third test hundred in the first test drawn at Lord’s last week, Burns added: “It would have been nice. [to score another century], but I fell a bit short.

“Backing up the races at Lord’s with another good score is something I’m pretty happy with, but I’m disappointed not to get home and hear my name sung a little louder.”

Sky Sports’ Michael Holding was impressed by Burns, feeling he displayed a Sir Vivian Richards-like mindset.

“What I liked hearing from him was telling everyone that he ‘evaluated the situation’ and then decided which shots were the best to play under those conditions,” Holding said.

“It reminds me of the Sir Viv Richards approach. Everybody knows that Viv, hitting number three, would not watch cricket except the first or two.

“He wanted to assess the conditions, he wanted to see what the bowlers were doing, how much bounce, how much movement, and then in his mind he would tell himself which shots he wanted to play before he went to relax.”

Burns’ 10-limit tally was dwarfed by Lawrence’s 11, with the latter sharing a spot of 47 for the seventh wicket with Olly Stone (20) and 36 straight for the eighth with Mark Wood (16th).

Burns added about Lawrence: “It was good to see him, wasn’t it? Loz played wonderfully. He enjoys his style and some of his shots were brilliant. Hopefully he can carry on.

“I was looking inside with Sibs (Dominic Sibley) and he hit a covering hit. It was a point at the end, but I was like ‘what a shot it is.’

“How he played there and how he managed to be so fluent on that kind of surface was really impressive. It was a bit of a two beat and lent itself to a good old fashioned test cricket day.

Lawrence had made a duck in his only entries at Lord’s, but recovered at Edgbaston with his third test fiftieth, after half a century on the subcontinent during the winter.

Sky Sports’ Rob Key added: “You saw Lawrence grow up and from here on he can get better and better. He seemed nervous like anything at first, but all of a sudden we saw the cover drive, the thrash, how good he can to be.

“He seems like a very good player. It was important that he spend time in the middle in front of a crowd in England and we have seen some decisiveness in his footwork.

“Now he’ll feel like he’s in a good position to kick, because of the time he spent in between.

“That’s what this young hitting lineup needs, to get through the first half hour. Then you can start to show how good you are.”

Watch the second day of the second test between England and New Zealand, in Edgbaston, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.15am on Friday.

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