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Rain curtails Root and Buttler riposte

By Rob Barnett


Heavy rain and then a wet outfield delayed a burgeoning fifty partnership between Joe Root and Jos Buttler that had reasserted England's control of the crucial fourth Investec Test.


The youngsters smoothly added 67 either side of lunch to undermine India's fightback of three wickets in an hour as the rivals battled for a series lead in this penultimate match.


Root and Buttler ushered the hosts to 237 for six, a first-innings advantage of 85, when a downpour half an hour into the afternoon session limited day two to 36 overs.


It came after seamrers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Varun Aaron took advantage of more overcast morning conditions at Emirates Old Trafford to put India back in the game and take their tallies to three scalps each.


They bowled with accuracy and skill to prise out nightwatchman Chris Jordan, half-centurion Ian Bell and new man Moeen Ali.


With England resuming on 113 for three after Gary Ballance fell in yesterday's last over, Bell soon turned his overnight 45 into a fifty.

Jos Buttler and Joe Root are forced off the field by what became a deluge after smoothly putting on 67 together to limit India's comeback Jordan had already pulled Bhuvneshwar emphatically for four when he repeated the stroke only for Aaron to hold a stunning catch to his right at midwicket.


Bell perished soon after, also to Bhuvneshwar, for 58. Beaten by one outswinger, the right-hander immediately nicked another behind.


Root and Moeen moved England ahead but the latter was then undone by Aaron. The diminutive bowler, playing in his second Test and first outside India, discomforted the left-hander with a bouncer and followed up with a beautiful inswinger that clipped off stump.


At 170 for six, and just 18 ahead, England were in danger of losing the benefit of yesterday's good work when Stuart Broad's nine wickets and three from James Anderson put the hosts on top.


However Root and Buttler, both 23 years old, belied their tender age to build sensibly, showing caution in the period before lunch but scoring smoothly after the interval.


Unfortunately the downpour stopped them in their tracks and left much of the outfield under water. Although the sun came out in the second half of the afternoon and the water was cleared by the groundstaff, two areas by the boundary were too wet for play to restart and the day was ended at 5.39pm. Root was unbeaten on 48 and Buttler 22.


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Rain Delay


5.39pm – PLAY IS ABANDONED FOR THE DAY! Eng 237/6; Root 48, Buttler 22 – Much to the disappointment of the crowd, the outfield is too wet for play to resume today. A report of the day's action is coming up shortly.


5.20pm – There will be another inspection at 5.40pm, giving the outfield a little longer to dry. Play has to start by 6pm or there will be no further action today.


5.12pm – The umpires are checking the areas where the two puddles were. Both are muddy and look slippery for fielders.

4.56pm – The 5pm inspection has been delayed until the two pesky puddles are cleared. The groundstaff have shifted most of the water but the areas concerned are very wet still.

4.30pm – The umpires are in the middle inspecting, but it is the two puddles in the corners of the ground either side of the media centre that will likely be their greatest concern.

4pm – All the covers are off, with the hover-cover just next to the pitch in case it is needed. The drying operation now begins with two super-soppers on the outfield.


3.47pm – Good news! The sun is shining brightly, the rain has stopped and the outer covers are coming off. However, it will take a while to clear the still-large puddles on the outfield.


3.26pm – The groundstaff emerge to begin the clear-up, prompting cheers from the relatively few spectators in their seats. However rain soon returns, forcing the workers off again.

3.20pm – The rain has all but stopped and there is bright sky over part of the ground, but the puddles remain and the groundstaff are yet to start clearing the standing water.


3.02pm – The precipitation is fairly light now but the puddles remain on the outfield.

2.39pm – The heavy rain continues and there are vast puddles over much of the outfield. This will be a long delay.

2.28pm – The below tweet looks optimistic as it's now raining very heavily indeed.

Afternoon Session


2.15pm – RAIN! Eng 237/6; Root 48, Buttler 22 - It's too heavy to continue now. England are 85 ahead thanks to this unbroken stand of 67.


2.10pm – Heavier rain is falling now, forcing spectators to take cover. The umpires confer but keep the players on. It's making the ball skiddy as a misfield costing a run suggests.

2.01pm – Runs are coming fast since lunch, Root now late-cutting Jadeja to the rope. England lead by 80. Unfortunately light rain starts to fall as dark cloud approaches from behind the media centre.


1.50pm – Buttler unfurls a classic cover-drive off Pankaj to further excite his home crowd. In the seamer's next over Root toe-ends through the slips for four, raising a valuable fifty partnership. Root finishes the latter over by powerfully cutting a four.


1.41pm – Pankaj Singh starts the afternoon session bowling from the Pavilion End and has a loud lbw shout against Jos Buttler turned down. Ravindra Jadeja continues from the other end. A Varun Aaron misfield at mid-off gives Joe Root an all-run four, much to a packed crowd's delight.


Morning Session

1.01pm – LUNCH! Eng 201/6; Root 23, Buttler 13 – The hosts reach the interval with a lead of 49 but India's three wickets this morning have kept them in the game. An intriguing afternoon session lies ahead.


12.58pm – Jos Buttler off-drives Ashwin for his first four, from his 28th ball, to take England to 200 in the penultimate over before the interval.


12.50pm - Ravindra Jadeja soon takes over from Aswhin and is, somewhat predictably, mildly booed when he is introduced by the stadium announcer. The spinner starts with a tight over. Ashwin switches ends, so Bhuvneshwar's return is brief and we have spin from both ends.

12.41pm – Bhuvneshwar replaces Aaron at the Pavilion End and Root cuts the last ball of his over for four, putting England 33 ahead.

12.26pm – WICKET! Moeen b Aaron 13; Eng 170/6 - Aaron, having just hit Moeen on the glove with a short ball, sends down a wonderful inswinger that curves between bat and pad to clip off stump. India are back in the game now.


12.16pm – Spinner Ravichandran Aswhin replaces Bhuvneshwar and starts with a maiden to Moeen. It's a little gloomy here, meaning the lights are on, but there seems little danger of play being interrupted. Aaron then discomforts Root with a bouncer that glances his helmet and goes over the slips for four leg-byes.

12.08pm – Moeen pulls and then hooks Bhuvneshwar for two consecutive fours, the first in front of square and the second behind. Those shots mean England lead by eight.


11.49am – Joe Root gets off the mark by guiding Aaron for four to third man. Moeen Ali is yet to score.

11.44am – WICKET! Bell c Dhoni b Bhuvneshwar 58; Eng 140/5 - The seamer beats Bell with a beautiful outswinger and immediately produces another that Bell feathers behind in a wicket-maiden. England, who trail by 12 on first innings, have some work to do here.


11.31am – WICKET! Jordan c Aaron b Bhuvneshwar 13; Eng 136/4 - Following two maidens, Jordan pulls Bhuvneshwar and Aaron does brilliantly to dive to his right at midwicket and hold an athletic catch.


11.18am – Jordan gets two fours behind the wicket off Pankaj, the first a lucky one off an inside edge just past leg stump and the second by a thick outside edge to third man.

11.08am – FIFTY! Bell (63b 8x4 1x6) – Pankaj Singh partners Bhuvneshwar and is emphatically pulled to the boundary by nightwatchman Chris Jordan before Bell goes to a half-century with an off-side single.

11.04am – Bhuvneshwar Kumar opens the bowling from the Media Centre End and Ian Bell cuts the last ball of the over for four, moving to 49.


Pre-Play News


11am – The players emerge as 'Jerusalem' rings out in front of a growing crowd at a sold-out Emirates Old Trafford.


10.50am – Having blown India away with 6-25, Stuart Broad yesterday revealed that he will likely have surgery on the tendonitis in his right knee after this series. Read about that here.

10.40am – It's another overcast morning in Manchester although, unlike yesterday, we should start on time. Here's what happened on day one, including India being reduced to eight for four.

10.30am  Good morning from Emirates Old Trafford where the players are warming up for day two. England will resume on 113 for three in reply to India's paltry 152 with Ian Bell on 45 and nightwatchman Chris Jordan yet to score.

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