Manchester - England were on the cusp of regaining control of the fourth Test
against India at Old Trafford when rain forced an early close to
Friday's second day.
England were 237 for six in reply to India's 152 all out, a lead of 85 runs.
Root was 48 not out and Jos Buttler, on his Lancashire home ground, 22
not out, with their unbroken seventh-wicket partnership so far worth 67
What became heavy rain forced the players from the field at 14:15 local time.
the sun later broke through the clouds and groundstaff appeared to
get most of the outfield into a playable state, two large puddles on the
boundary near the players' dressing rooms caused the officials concern.
several inspections, umpires Rod Tucker and Marais Erasmus were still
not satisfied with the condition of those areas and play was abandoned
for the day at 17:39.
It was a decision greeted by
understandable jeers from spectators who had waited patiently for
several hours in the hope of seeing the match re-start.
England great Geoffrey Boycott, commentating for BBC Radio's Test Match Special, was not impressed.
sort of thing hurts cricket," Boycott said. "There's a bigger picture.
People play a fortune to watch. That's bigger than a couple of
cricketers slipping over."
But Australia's Tucker said: "People want to see the cricket and we want to give them some.
"The area is still part of the playing area so it's got to be fit.
"It's a Test match, it's not an Under-12s match, so player safety is an issue."
director of cricket Mike Watkinson added: "Our problem today (Friday)
is that the grass isn't as established as the rest of the outfield.
"If we have got anything wrong, we've hit it with the waterhog and disturbed the surface."
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.
Ian Bell was 45 not out, with nightwatchman Chris Jordan yet to score.
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.
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
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
"Kumar bowled fantastically again this
morning," said Bell. "We knew it was a big hour but you've got to put
the ball in good areas and I thought he did that really well.
"He's done that all series, I've been really impressed by him."
Ali fell for 13 when recalled fast bowler Aaron, from around the
wicket, hurried him with a short-pitcher before next ball bowling him
with a full-length delivery as the left-hander aimed towards midwicket.
was only Aaron's second Test since a debut in 2011, with the
24-year-old's career interrupted by multiple stress fractures of the
"When I got operated on a year-and-a-half ago in London, one of my targets back then was to come on this tour," said Aaron.
am really glad I am here, I am finally playing, and I have had a decent
match so far," added the paceman, who at stumps had taken three for 48
in 16 overs.
"As the game is poised at the moment, England are ahead obviously, but they aren't too much ahead."