2014-08-09 09:01 PM
MANCHESTER, England (AP) -- Joe Root and Jos Buttler tightened England's grip on the fourth test against India on Saturday, hitting half-centuries to help the hosts to a lead of 173 runs by lunch on day three at Old Trafford.
Resuming on 237-6 with England's first-innings lead at 85, Root (77) and Buttler (70) maintained their good form with the bat under blue skies in Manchester before becoming Pankaj Singh's first test wickets.
With bad weather forecast for Sunday and Monday, England will hoping to exert as much pressure as possible in Saturday's final two sessions to set up a victory that would put it 2-1 ahead in the series with one test remaining.
Chris Woakes (6) and Stuart Broad (0) were the not-out batsmen at the end of the session, with England 325-8.
Root passed 50 for the fourth time in six innings this series and had added 29 runs to his overnight 48 before gloving a legside delivery by Singh to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
It was Singh's first test wicket and he then removed the dangerous Buttler, who had settled into attacking groove only to drive a poor shot straight to Cheteshwar Pujara at mid-off.
Buttler, who struck 10 fours in his 130-ball knock, should have been out earlier but was dropped by Virat Kohli in the slips on 34 before Dhoni missed a run-out chance as Buttler scampered for a second when on 43.
England added 88 runs in the morning session, with the Root-Buttler making a 134-run stand for the seventh wicket.
Play resumed with a section of the outfield muddy near the boundary rope following rain on Friday which washed out more than half of the second day's play.