Rain halts England progress

Joe Root, right, was unbeaten on 48 when the players left the field, with Jos Buttler 22no

Joe Root, right, was unbeaten on 48 when the players left the field, with Jos Buttler 22no

First published in National Sport News © by

England were building a promising lead when heavy rain interrupted the second day of the fourth Investec Test against India at Emirates Old Trafford.

The hosts had started to reassert themselves after a frustrating morning when play was halted early in the afternoon session by a torrential downpour.

Joe Root was leading the hosts' push and was unbeaten on 48, with England 237 for six and leading by 85, when the players left the field. Jos Buttler was 22 not out.

The drizzle which prompted the umpires to call on the covers quickly developed into a heavy shower and, with considerable water deposited on the outfield, 85 minutes of play was lost before tea was taken at the regulation 3.40pm.

England had been just 49 ahead on 201 for six at lunch after India had the better of the day's opening exchanges.

The tourists showed considerable spirit to take three quick wickets after England had begun the day looking to build a commanding lead.

Ian Bell, 45 overnight, did reach his half-century in the second over of the morning but the luckless Pankaj Singh - still seeking his first Test wicket - and Bhuvneshwar Kumar caused problems from the outset.

Nightwatchman Chris Jordan rode his luck slightly on his way to 13 and then failed to get on top of a rising bouncer from Kumar and pulled a catch to the diving Varun Aaron at midwicket.

Kumar then accounted for Bell for 58 with some fine swing bowling. Bell seemed fortunate to survive after a fine outswinger narrowly missed his outside edge but there was to be no escape as he nicked the next delivery behind to MS Dhoni.

Root did survive but he endured some awkward moments, not least when he left a Kumar delivery which almost clipped his off-stump.

Root took nine balls to get off the mark and then brought the scores level with a good push through the covers for three off Kumar.

Moeen Ali pulled Kumar for successive fours but he still seemed uncomfortable against the short ball and India continued to test him.

Root also seemed uneasy against such tactics and was struck on the helmet by Aaron, who went on to out-think Moeen.

Moeen managed to squirm two on the legside after again being forced onto his back foot but the next delivery was full and straight, and he played around it to lose his off-stump.

Root and Buttler were not convincing but did survive until lunch and then began to play more freely in an attempt to force England ahead, in both the match and the series.

Root did enjoy a stroke of luck with one miscued drive off Pankaj catching the bottom of his bat, falling short of Dhoni and bouncing away for four.

A misfield by Aaron also allowed him an all-run four but legitimate boundaries were also starting to come as he moved towards a half-century.

The weather interrupted his flow, however, as the dark clouds delivered the rain they had been threatening for some time.

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