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Rain frustrates England in fourth Test

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MANCHESTER: England's cricketers 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 6-237 in reply to India's 152, a lead of 85 runs.

Joe Root was 48 not out and Jos Buttler 22 not out, with their unbroken seventh-wicket partnership so far worth 67 runs.

What became heavy rain forced the players from the field at 2:15pm local time.

Although the sun later broke through, two large puddles on the boundary near the players' dressing rooms caused the officials concern.

After several inspections, umpires Rod Tucker and Marais Erasmus abandoned for the day at 5:39pm.


It was a decision greeted by understandable jeers from spectators who had waited patiently for several hours.

England resumed on 3-113 with Ian Bell on 45 and nightwatchman Chris Jordan yet to score.

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

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

And 4-136 became 5-140 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.

Moeen Ali fell for 13 when recalled quick Aaron bowled him with a full-length delivery as the left-hander aimed towards midwicket.

"It is a good wicket to bowl on," Kumar said. "If you are hitting the right area and swinging the ball, it is not easy for the batsman to score runs. It is one of the best wickets, compared to other Test matches."

Pankaj Singh had had the misfortune to record the worst wicketless Test debut by any bowler with a match return of none for 179 at Southampton.

And when rain stopped play in Manchester on Friday, Singh's innings figures stood at none for 79 in 17 overs.