James Anderson will not take to the field in Australia's second innings of the first Ashes Test, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has confirmed.

Anderson experienced a calf issue while bowling on day one and left Edgbaston early to undergo a scan.

The 37-year-old came in to bat as England surpassed Australia's tally of 284 by 90 runs on day three, but he did not return for the final session.

The ECB has now confirmed Anderson will not field for the rest of the Test, though the Lancashire paceman will bat if required.

Australia went into day four with a 34-run lead, with Steve Smith's unbeaten 46 having steadied the ship for the tourists following some early inroads for England's bowlers.

James Pattinson said Australia would be "in a bit of trouble" without Steve Smith as he backed the star batsman to rescue the tourists yet again in the Ashes.

Smith has kept Australia alive against England at Edgbaston, where the Aussies hold a slim 34-run lead heading into day four of the opening Test.

After marking his Test return with a stunning 144-run knock following a 12-month ban for his role in the ball-tampering scandal, Smith thwarted England again via an unbeaten 46 to lead Australia to 124-3 at stumps on Saturday.

Smith teamed up with Travis Head (21 not out) after England reached 374 and a lead of 90 as Australia paceman Pattinson hailed the country's former captain.

"I was talking to a bit of press before about great players, they always stand up when you need them and I think he's done that this game," Pattinson said. "Without him we'd be in a bit of trouble.

"He's a fantastic player and to do it after everything that he's been through. He's been copping a bit from the crowd which has amused a lot of people.

"But to his credit he just gets on with it and he's a fantastic player. He's someone who lifts the group when he's out there. He's an unbelievable player."

There was a nervy moment when Smith was hit on the head by a Ben Stokes bouncer in the 29th over of Australia's second innings.

Initially dazed, Smith continued batting after passing a concussion test, as Cameron Bancroft (7) and David Warner (8) struggled, with Usman Khawaja (40) the next-best performer.

"It was quite a good reaction from him [Smith], wasn't it?," Pattinson told reporters.

"We had a little bit of a chuckle in the dressing-room. He always puts a bit of mayo [exaggerates] on things. He's a fantastic player and he seems to be fine now."

Chris Woakes does not appear to have much hope of "the best fast bowler who's ever lived" James Anderson being available to play a part on day four of the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

Though Anderson batted as England were bowled out for 374, giving them a first-innings lead of 90, he did not join the hosts as they returned to field on day three.

In his absence England reduced Australia to 124-3, the tourists 34 runs ahead when bad light stopped play, with Steve Smith unbeaten on 46 having rescued them with a remarkable 144 in the first innings.

England need to find a way of dislodging Smith if they are to set up a manageable run chase, and Woakes indicated they will have to do so without their leading Test wicket-taker.

Asked how he felt when he learned Anderson would not be on the field for Australia's second innings, Woakes told a media conference: "I was gutted for Jimmy, he's obviously dying to play more than anyone and wants to play more than anyone.

"But it wasn't right which was unfortunate for him and unfortunate for us as a team with him being the best fast bowler that's ever lived, in my opinion, with the amount of wickets he's taken and all that.

"[His absence] is a bit of a blow but at the same time us as a unit have to go out there and try to do the job.

"Moving forward, I actually don't know [whether he will be available on Sunday]. The fact he hasn't taken much part in the game so far doesn't look too promising but I actually don't know.

"It's a well-poised Ashes Test match. It's been a great Test match so far, reasonably even. We're pretty happy having them 30 for three.

"If we can start well in the morning, two big wickets up front could be quite crucial. All of a sudden if you have them 50 or 60 for five, it's a big turning point. Tomorrow morning, as always, is important."

Woakes put on a stand of 65 with Stuart Broad to help build a decent lead after England had lost four wickets for 18 runs and slumped to 300-8, and Woakes knows how vital those extra runs could prove.

"That partnership with Stuart, 60 runs or so, could be quite a big part of the game," he added.

"Pleased with the way we played and it was quite important we put on a partnership there because at that point it wasn't looking like we were getting too big of a lead."

England made early inroads in the second innings at Edgbaston but face the spectre of another possible marathon innings from Steve Smith with the first Ashes Test in the balance.

The hosts started day three in a commanding position, 267-4 in response to 284, but may have been disappointed not to make that superiority tell to a greater extent on day three.

Rory Burns only added eight to his overnight total of 125 and, while Ben Stokes reached 50, the loss of four wickets for 18 runs left Chris Woakes needing to lead a recovery effort to take England to 374 all out and a lead of 90.

David Warner fell for his second single-figure score of the match before Cameron Bancroft again departed cheaply and Usman Khawaja went to a stunning delivery from Ben Stokes, but Smith - whose 144 in the first innings rescued Australia - continues to prove the immovable object.

His unbeaten 46 and stand of 49 with Travis Head (21 not out) took Australia to 124-3 and a lead of 34 when bad light stopped play, an advantage they would not possess had England's middle order displayed greater resistance.

The saviour of England's World Cup final win, Stokes looked primed to play another talismanic role when he reached 50 off 95 balls but the next delivery saw him nick Pat Cummins (3-84) behind.

A quicker ball from Nathan Lyon (3-112) ended Burns' memorable innings and just five balls later a horrible misjudgement from Moeen Ali saw him go for a duck.

Jonny Bairstow slashed Peter Siddle (2-52) to first slip in the next over to leave England in trouble on 300-8, but Woakes (37 not out) and Stuart Broad (29) combined for a ninth-wicket stand of 65.

Broad had tempered the sense of adventure that usually comes with his spells at the crease but could not resist temptation when he flicked a Cummins short ball to fine leg.

The injured James Anderson supported Woakes well until his ill-advised decision to sweep Lyon ended an innings that promised more, but England were soon celebrating again when Warner clipped Broad behind.

Warner was out on review after an inexplicable error from umpire Joel Wilson, but DRS was not required to send Bancroft walking after he pushed Moeen to short leg.

Khawaja and Smith looked well set before bowling brilliance from Stokes removed the former, and it will likely take something similarly special to dislodge Smith on day four as England try to set up a manageable chase.

David Warner joined in the Ashes fun at Edgbaston after England fans goaded the Australia opener over his ball-tampering suspension.

Former captain Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft and Warner are playing their first Test since being banned for their part in a plot to use sandpaper to alter the state of the ball in a match against South Africa in Cape Town last year.

Warner has long been a target for supporter ire in this famous old rivalry and when he was sent to field in front of the Hollies Stand during England's innings on Saturday, he was serenaded with choruses of "he's got sandpaper in his hands!".

The 32-year-old responded by holding out his empty palms, earning applause from the locals, before continuing the merriment by turning out his pockets.

England were dismissed for 374 to bring tea on the third day, the hosts boasting a lead of 90 that Warner and Bancroft will aim to make inroads into after their first-innings failures.

Nathan Lyon led a roaring Australia fightback in the morning session of day three of the opening Ashes Test but England edged into a first-innings lead at Edgbaston.

Rory Burns impressed on Friday as England batted out all three sessions, but it was a different story in the first couple of hours on Saturday as concerns over the hosts' line-up were brought to the fore.

England were well placed at 282-4, but with Ben Stokes having edged to Tim Paine just after making a half-century, Lyon handed Australia the initiative when he dismissed Burns (133) and Moeen Ali for a duck in the same over.

Jonny Bairstow's wicket fell soon after as England lost four for 18 runs and slipped to 300-8. Stuart Broad (11 not out) and Chris Woakes (13no) managed to halt the slide, though, to take the hosts into lunch with a 44-run lead.

James Pattinson thought he had Stokes caught behind in the third over, only for England's all-rounder to have made contact with the ground.

However, after clipping a single fine of mid-off to bring up his fifty, Stokes succumbed on the next ball he faced -  a thin edge taking Pat Cummins' delivery straight into Paine's gloves.

Bairstow and Burns nudged England past Australia's total, though Lyon soon made the key breakthrough.

Burns misjudged a quicker ball, with Australia captain Paine reacting superbly to take the catch and send England's opener walking.

Lyons doubled the damage four deliveries later, Moeen bizarrely electing to leave a straight ball that sent his off-stump tumbling, before Bairstow then slashed an attempted cut to David Warner from Peter Siddle's bowling.

Australia looked set to rattle through England's order, but the hosts' tail wagged, with Broad and Woakes, who slammed Lyon for a huge six, ensuring James Anderson - who has been declared fit to bat - was not called on before lunch.

Nathan Lyon led a roaring Australia fightback in the morning session of day three of the opening Ashes Test but England edged into a first-innings leading at Edgbaston.

Rory Burns impressed on Friday as England batted out all three sessions, but it was a different story in the first couple of hours on Saturday as concerns over the hosts' line-up were brought to the fore.

England were well placed at 282-4, but with Ben Stokes having edged to Tim Paine just after making a half-century, Lyon handed Australia the initiative when he dismissed Burns (133) and Moeen Ali for a duck in the same over.

Jonny Bairstow's wicket fell soon after as England lost four for 18 runs and slipped to 300-8. Stuart Broad (11 not out) and Chris Woakes (13no) managed to halt the slide, though, to take the hosts into lunch with a 44-run lead.

James Pattinson thought he had Stokes caught behind in the third over, only for England's all-rounder to have made contact with the ground.

However, after clipping a single fine of mid-off to bring up his 50, Stokes succumbed on the next ball he faced -  a thin edge taking Pat Cummins' delivery straight into Paine's gloves.

Bairstow and Burns nudged England past Australia's total, though Lyon soon made the key breakthrough.

Burns misjudged a quicker ball, with Australia captain Paine reacting superbly to take the catch and send England's opener walking.

Lyons doubled the damage four deliveries later, Moeen bizarrely electing to leave a straight ball that sent his off-stump tumbling, before Bairstow then slashed an attempted cut to David Warner from Peter Siddle's bowling.

Australia looked set to rattle through England's order, but the hosts' tail wagged, with Broad and Woakes, who slammed Lyon for a huge six, ensuring James Anderson - who has been declared fit to bat - was not called on before lunch.

James Anderson will be available to bat for England on day three of the opening Ashes Test, though it is not yet confirmed if he will bowl.

Anderson suffered a calf injury on the first day at Edgbaston, having bowled four overs for one run in the opening session on Thursday.

He later had scans on the injury, with Stuart Broad confirming England were unsure as to the full extent of the problem.

The 37-year-old was seen running in the warm up on day two but did not have to take part in Friday's play as England batted out all three sessions - Rory Burns scoring 125 not out to move the hosts within 17 runs of Australia's tally of 284.

Anderson's recovery now seems to have picked up pace, with the ECB confirming to Omnisport that the Lancashire paceman will be able to bat if required.

However, no decision has yet been made on whether Anderson – who ran in the warm up – will bowl, with the ECB to take a view later in the day as to whether England's record Test wicket-taker should do so.

Australia mentor Steve Waugh feels the tourists have to learn from the way Rory Burns dug in to make 125 not out on the second day of the first Ashes Test.

England put themselves in a strong position on Friday as Burns produced his maiden century in the longest format, moving the hosts to within 17 runs of Australia's first-innings total with six wickets in hand.

Burns rode his luck at times but ultimately turned the match in his side's favour. Waugh was impressed by how the England opener handled himself and stated the Australia batsmen should take note.

"That's Test match cricket. You've got to grind it out and do the hard yards," he said. "It's not about how good you look, it's about how many runs you get.

"That was a good innings for some of our players to look at and learn from, sure.

"I know myself, playing tough Test match cricket, when someone scores runs for the opposition, you've got to be smart to look at how they got those runs, how they went about it.

"When you watch someone get 120 not out, you've got to take something from that and put it in your own game."

Waugh added: "I haven't seen a lot of him, but his concentration was excellent. He obviously knows his game really well.

"To get 100 on that pitch is a good performance - in Ashes cricket, it's really important for his side. I'll give him full credit.

"He played and missed a few times, but you need a little bit of luck. He showed a lot of character today, so he's got to be proud of that effort."

Neither side were helped by more errors from the umpires, who were widely criticised after day one, but Waugh was not looking for excuses.

"There's been a couple [of mistakes] over the past few days, but I think it evens out," he said. "You can't rely on that to win a Test match.

"You need to take luck out of the equation and play a little bit better."

Burns thoroughly enjoyed his outing and is keen to see England build a lead on day three.

"It was a wonderful experience," he said. "Hopefully I'm not done yet and hopefully we can push on from the position we're in tomorrow."

Rory Burns was delighted to deliver on the big stage with a debut Ashes century, having toiled badly in the warm-up Test against Ireland last week.

The England opener twice made just six against Ireland at Lord's as the hosts threatened to be embarrassed.

Burns' underwhelming display might not have boosted England's hopes heading into the first Test against Australia at Edgbaston, but the Surrey man was 125 not out at the end of day two as the hosts reached 267-4.

England, with six wickets still in hand, moved to within 17 runs of Australia's first-innings total of 284 as the home crowd chanted Burns' name following his maiden Test century.

It was a long way from the previous week's struggles, as the opener attested to afterwards.

"That was pretty good - quite an enjoyable experience," Burns told Sky Sports. "[It feels] different to the Ireland Test match last week.

"It was awesome, a really good experience, that stand rocking and this place going. It was quite something."

Describing his thoughts after the Ireland match, he added: "I was just thinking that I've been trying to embrace the opportunities as they come, and the next game's another opportunity.

"I just wanted to put myself in position to take that opportunity. I was struggling with my rhythm at Lord's and I was just trying to fight to get that feeling back."

There was a long nervy stretch for Burns in the final session as he crept towards his century, facing 10 deliveries on 99 before getting the single to reach the landmark.

"I was just waiting for a ball that was, 'Dead cert, that's going'," he added. "I was playing with myself, telling myself not to sweep because I wanted it. I just wanted something in my arc."

Rory Burns scored his maiden Test hundred as England enjoyed the better of day two of the first Ashes match against Australia at Edgbaston.

Left-hander Burns averaged 22 after his first seven Test appearances and saw his place in the side come into question ahead of this series, but he broke new ground in Birmingham with a gritty unbeaten 125 leading England to 267-4 at the close, 17 runs adrift of Australia's first-innings total.

It could have been a very different day for the Surrey opener, who was fortunate on two counts not to fall lbw on 21 to Nathan Lyon, who bowled brilliantly despite failing to take a wicket.

Burns retained his composure and went on to establish a 132-run partnership with captain Joe Root (57), who was making his first appearance since returning to bat at three.

Australia's pace attack struggled until a change of ball brought about an upturn in fortunes, with Joe Denly (18) and Jos Buttler (5) falling shortly after tea.

However, the tourists were unable to oust Burns as he reached the close in the company of Ben Stokes (38 not out) to keep England on the front foot.

Steve Smith's 144 on Thursday lifted Australia from 122-8 to what appeared to be a competitive 284 all out when England experienced some early scares after resuming on 10 without loss.

After Jason Roy (10) edged James Pattinson (2-54) – making his first Test appearance since February 2016 – to Smith at second slip, Burns was let off the hook when Lyon's lbw appeal was turned down and Australia's decision not to review proved costly with ball-tracking technology showing the delivery was destined to crash into leg stump.

Pattinson was left bemused when Root overturned a caught-behind decision as replays showed the ball clipped off stump without dislodging a bail rather than hitting his bat, before the captain, who was given out lbw off Peter Siddle after lunch but again reviewed successfully due to an inside edge, and Burns made the most of their reprieves by grinding out runs.

Just as Root started to look more comfortable, he was dismissed caught-and-bowled by an instinctive catch by Siddle (1-43) on his follow through, and more nervy moments ensued for Burns.

Pattinson and Pat Cummins (1-65) were rejuvenated by a ball change that led to a significant increase in swing early in the final session and they accounted for Denly and Buttler within six overs of its introduction.

But after surpassing his previous Test best of 84, Burns faced 10 deliveries on 99 before finally getting a quick single off Lyon to reach triple figures and bask in the adulation of the delighted fans.

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.

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