England take 85-run lead over India as rain forces early stumps on Day 2 of 4th Test
England are on 237 for six © Getty Images
By Abhijit Banare
Aug 8, 2014
Rain played spoilsport as only just over a session of game was played between India and England on Day Two of the fourth Test at Old Trafford, Manchester on Friday. England, on 237 for six had taken a handy lead of 85 runs when the drizzle turned in to a heavy downpour and refused to relent forcing the umpires to call it a day. Joe Root (48) and Jos Buttler (24) are the unbeaten batsmen on crease.
Despite close to a day being lost, this match has already seen enough action on the first day to produce a result even if showers disrupt briefly further in this game. India having bowled out for 152 fought back well thanks to Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Varun Aaron. The duo have shared the six wickets to fall so far.
Bhuvneshwar kept up with his consistency removing the overnight batsmen Chris Jordan (13) and Ian Bell (58). But the key takeaway was Aaron. The young pacer has clearly rattled the batsmen with his pace. This time he had a go at Moeen Ali and the field was set for a short ball. MS Dhoni ensured that it was his instructions which Aaron had to follow rather than giving the bowler an option. He eventually got his man not with a short one but a brilliant full delivery which cut back in to Moeen and the stumps were in disarray. Unlike Bhuvneshwar, Aaron’s pace doesn’t allow the batsmen to make last minute adjustments. Both pacers got enough movement to consistently ask questions to the batsmen.
At 170 for six, India had every reason to feel good about restricting England but it was the duo of Jos Buttler and Joe Root who rescued England towards a healthy lead. Buttler in particular was positive from the moment he arrived at the crease. Root has been as solid as ever anchoring the innings. The rain continued to pour since the post lunch session and despite the modern tools used to dry the ground, they failed to get the outfield as per required playing conditions.
The umpires did inspect once at 4:30 local time, only to postpone it by half an hour. That little opportunity also went down the drain and they called off play.
Looking forward, the weather is likely to hold good for tomorrow. Skipper Dhoni will be keen to break this unbeaten 67-run partnership and restrict the lead. Much of their hope rests on batting well in the second innings and take at least a lead of 200 to allow their bowlers especially the spin twins — Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja to make a difference.
India 152 (MS Dhoni 71, Ravichandran Ashwin 40; Stuart Broad 6 for 25, James Anderson 3 for 46) trail England 237 for 6 (Ian Bell 58, Gary Ballance 37; Varun Aaron 3 for 48, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3 for 47) by 85 runs.
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(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)