• Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Root, Buttler guide England

Afp, Manchester

Joe Root and Jos Buttler held firm for England before rain stopped play in the fourth Test against India at Old Trafford on Friday.

England were 237 for six in reply to India's 152 all out, a lead of 85 runs, when what became heavy rain forced the players from the field at 2:15pm local time (1315GMT) on the second day.

No further play was possible in the 85 minutes before the scheduled tea interval.

Although by then the sun had started to break through the grey skies, there were large puddles in several places around the boundary edge.

Root was 48 not out and wicketkeeper Buttler, on his Lancashire home ground, 22 not out.

The pair had so far put on 67 runs for the seventh wicket.

England resumed on 113 for three after bowling out India -- who won the toss -- for just 152 before tea on Thursday, with fast-medium bowler Stuart Broad taking six for 25.

However, India's total in an innings featuring a Test record-equalling six ducks represented something of a recovery after they had been eight for four inside six overs and the tourists were indebted to a battling 71 from captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

England's Ian Bell was 45 not out, with nightwatchman Chris Jordan yet to score at the start of Friday's play.

India badly needed an early breakthrough and swing bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, a thorn in England's side with both bat and ball this series, duly obliged by taking two wickets for one run in eight balls to remove both Bell (58) and Jordan (13).

Bell, fresh from his hundred in England's 266-run win at Southampton -- their first victory in 11 Tests -- that levelled the five-match series at 1-1, completed a 63-ball fifty including eight fours and a six.

With conditions as overcast as they had been on Thursday morning, there was plenty of swing movement on offer.

But it was Kumar's looping bouncer that did for Jordan as he mistimed a pull and was well caught by Varun Aaron, moving low to his right at midwicket.

And 136 for four became 140 for five when Bell, beaten the ball before by Kumar's superb outswinger, was undone by another good length delivery that this time took the edge on its way through to wicketkeeper Dhoni.

England had now lost half their first-innings wickets and had still to equal India's score.

Moeen Ali had proved vulnerable to the bouncer in his brief Test career to date.

But Ali's response to two successive Kumar short balls was to get over the top of both deliveries and pull them down for well-struck fours.

However, Ali fell for 13 when recalled fast bowler Aaron, from around the wicket, hurried him with a short-pitcher before next ball bowling the all-rounder with a full-length delivery as the left-hander aimed towards midwicket.

Published: 12:00 am Saturday, August 09, 2014

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