England taking control of fourth Test

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iol spt aug9 Root Getty Images Joe Root and Jos Buttler strengthened England's grip on the fourth Test against India at Old Trafford. Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Joe Root and Jos Buttler strengthened England's grip on the fourth Test against India at Old Trafford on Saturday.

England were 325 for eight in reply to India's first innings 152, a lead of 173 runs, at lunch on the third day.

Root (77) and Buttler (70) shared a seventh-wicket stand of 134.

But they both fell before lunch to Pankaj Singh when, after an agonisingly long wait for his first Test wicket, he took two for four in 15 balls.

England resumed on 237 for six, a lead of 85 runs, after rain had cut short Friday's play by several hours.

Root was 48 not out and wicketkeeper Buttler 22 not out.

Root, in the second over of the day, completed a 103-ball fifty, including five fours, with a three down to fine leg off Singh.

India took the new ball as soon as they could, with England 248 for six off 80 overs.

But Root's response was to drive swing bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar through the covers for two fours off successive deliveries.

But Kumar could have had a wicket when Buttler on 34, aiming legside, got an outside edge but Virat Kohli, diving to his left at gully, dropped the difficult one-handed chance.

Buttler, on his Lancashire home ground, should have been run out for 44 going for a second run but opposing wicketkeeper and India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni fumbled a good throw from Varon Aaron.

The 23-year-old, who gave three chances while making a rapid 85 on Test debut in England's 266-run series 1-1 series levelling win at Southampton last time out, then completed another fifty Saturday when he punched Kumar through cover for a sixth four in 108 balls.

But 6ft 6in paceman Singh's wait for his first Test wicket -- after a debut record worst wicketless return of none for 179 at Southampton -- finally ended when he had Root, gloving a short ball, caught down the legside by Dhoni.

At that stage Singh's wicket had cost him a cumulative 274 runs.

And the Rajasthan seamer was smiling again before lunch when, with Buttler looking to attack, he deceived him with a slower ball the batsman could only chip straight to Chesteshwar Pujara at mid-off.

Chris Woakes was six not out and James Anderson unbeaten on nought at lunch. – AFP

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