London, Aug 17: Joe Root slammed an unbeaten 92 as England took a substantial first innings lead of 237 runs on the second day to tighten their grip on the fifth and final Test against a hapless India here today.
Resuming the day on 62 for no loss after bundling India out for 148 yesterday, England scored at a brisk pace by adding 323 runs today from 86 overs to end the day on 385 for seven at an Oval pitch which has eased out considerably.
Root was going strong on 92 not out after facing 129 balls with the help of nine fours and a six. Chris Jordan was giving him company on 19 and the duo have put on 67 runs for the unbroken eighth wicket.
Captain Alastair Cook and Gary Ballance also made substantial contributions with 79 (off 183 balls) and 64 (off 117 balls) respectively.
'Butter fingered' Indian fielders also did not do any good for their team's cause by dropping Cook twice - on 65 and 70. India, who are trailing the five-match series 1-2, will now need a herculean task to save the Test.
Indian bowlers gave a sort of a fightback in the second session as they took four wickets through a double strike by off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and a wicket each by pacers Varun Aaron and Ishant Sharma.
But they were not able to find regular breakthroughs after tea break and let go off the opportunity to claw back into the game. Ashwin (2/55), Aaron (2/111) and Ishant (2/58) took two wickets apiece, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/86) also chipped in on the day.
Stuart Binny (0/58) was the other bowler deployed. Root and Jos Buttler (45 runs, 73 balls, 9 fours) put on 80 runs for the sixth wicket after tea as they wrestled back the initiative from Indian bowlers.
The Indian attack lacked consistency in the final session in comparison to their bowling in post-lunch session and the two batsmen took advantage of that to score freely.
Root and Buttler brought up their 50-run partnership in the 82nd over, the runs coming off from only 81 balls.