BIRMINGHAM, England (AFP) - Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook consolidated England's already strong position as they continued to deny India a breakthrough on the second day of the third Test.
England were 157 without loss in reply to India's first innings 224, a deficit of 67 runs, at lunch at Edgbaston here on Thursday.
England captain Strauss was 84 not out and fellow left-hander Cook 51 not out as the hosts pressed for a win that would give them both an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the four-Test series and see them replace India at the top of the ICC's Test Championship table
England, after a near-perfect first day, resumed on 84 without loss when play re-started 30 minutes late because of rain.
That left them 140 runs behind a modest India first innings where captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's 77 rescued his side from the depths of 111 for seven as England seamers Stuart Broad (four for 53) and Tim Bresnan (four for 62) shared eight wickets between them.
Strauss was 52 not out overnight, his best Test score of the season, and Cook unbeaten on 27.
But England initially found runs hard to come by against the accurate medium-pace of Praveen Kumar, whose opening spell Thursday saw him concede just five runs in seven overs.
England had to wait until Thursday's 15th over for the first boundary off the bat in the day's play, when Strauss edged Ishant Sharma past the slips.
Cook flirted with danger when he turned leg-spinner Amit Mishra just short of leg-slip.
But he was more in control when he leant into an authoritative drive off fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth that sped past extra cover.
Cook then completed a 130-ball fifty with his seventh four when he clipped Sreesanth firmly through mid-wicket.