England flounder before rain arrives

England

England slipped to a fragile 237 for six – in response to India's 152 all out – on a rain-affected day two of the fourth Test match at Old Trafford in Manchester on Friday.

England slipped to a fragile 237 for six – in response to India's 152 all out – on a rain-affected day two of the fourth and penultimate Test match at Old Trafford in Manchester.

Inclement weather allowed for a mere 36 overs on Friday, truncating rearguard duo Joe Root and Jos Buttler's collective bid to counterattack – and grow a burgeoning lead of 85.

Resuming on 113 for three, the host batsmen boasted high hopes of complementing the solid work put in by fast bowlers Stuart Broad and James Anderson on day one.

The pair shared nine wickets to render visiting captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's decision to bat first after winning the toss largely ineffective. Broad was particularly impressive, securing telling figures of six for 25.

Nightwatchman Chris Jordan, half-centurion Ian Bell and the left-handed Moeen Ali, however, fell in relatively quick succession. Jordan perished on the pull, Bell feathered an edge to wicketkeeper Dhoni and Ali was bowled by a swing yorker from seamer Varun Aaron.

Aaron, selected ahead of the struggling Mohammed Shami, explored the angle from over the wicket well throughout – and shared six wickets with fellow right-armer Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

The home side were admittedly in plenty of trouble at 170 for six. The steely Root and resilient Buttler, however, resolved to defy – successfully. Moving to 48 not out and an undefeated 22 respectively, the duo shared a fine 67-run partnership.

Sunnier skies have been predicted for Saturday, when Root and Buttler will incrementally target a lead of at least 200 in conditions admittedly difficult for batting. Kumar and Aaron, of course, will beg to differ.

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