Fresh from a century in the drab opening draw at Lord’s, Burns made 81 in front of 18,000 raucous fans at Edgbaston who were treated to a fascinating 90 overs.
Lawrence then reached the close unbeaten on 67 after the Black Caps fought back in the afternoon session having struggled for inroads in the morning, with England closing on 258-7.
On a day when it was confirmed James Anderson – England’s all-time leading wicket-taker – would become the team’s most-capped player with 162 appearances, the hosts made sedate progress in the opening session.
Alongside Dom Sibley (35), Burns helped England reach 67-0 by lunch, but the loss of three wickets for the addition of only 13 runs threatened to see things unravel.
Sibley was the first to fall with a feather behind off the brilliant Matt Henry (2-66), before the badly out of form Zak Crawley lasted only four balls when he slashed one off Neil Wagner (1-62) to third slip.
Captain Joe Root fell cheaply, chopping behind off Henry, as all the while Burns provided a steadying hand, bringing up a half-century in 141 balls and putting on 42 with Ollie Pope (19), who was dismissed when playing a poor shot off the left-arm spin of Ajaz Patel.
Trent Boult, back in the New Zealand side having spent time with family following the suspended IPL season, convinced Burns to go for the drive that picked out stand-in captain Tom Latham at second slip, and the same man sent James Bracey back for a golden duck.
But Lawrence gave England much-needed resistance, making a brisk half-century off just 75 balls – putting on a valuable 47 with Olly Stone (20) and seeing out the day with Mark Wood (16 not out).
CRAWLEY FALTERS AGAIN
There was something all too familiar about the way England’s batting order threatened to unravel, with the luckless Crawley emblematic of the tale of woe.
Since making 267 against Pakistan last August, he has recorded nine single-digit scores in the following 11 Test innings. He was far from the only culprit, but Crawley needs a score from somewhere.
HENRY TURNS THE TIDE
Root will have been delighted with the way England saw out the opening session with the minimum of fuss, but not so enthralled by a New Zealand comeback led by Henry.
Spells of devastating pace and swing had England rocking and had it not been for Burns and Lawrence giving the hosts some backbone, the tourists would have been in command. As it is, the hosts have 300 in their sights and the likes of Anderson, Stuart Broad and Mark Wood will have plenty to take encouragement from when they get the ball in their hands.
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