Gros-Islet (Saint Lucia): Joe Root’s (111 batting, 209b, 9×4) 16th Test century highlighted England’s first day of complete dominance in an otherwise disappointing Caribbean campaign as the captain anchored his team to an unassailable position by the end of the third day of the third and final Test against the West Indies at the Darren Sammy Stadium here, Monday.
Root’s workmanlike innings typified the tourists’ effort to make amends for previous failures in reaching stumps at 325 for four in their second innings, an overall lead of 448 runs with two days still available to push for a consolation victory.
With the home side short-handed in the bowling department due to an early injury to Keemo Paul, the visitors took full advantage of the situation.
Root had never gone through an entire Test series without at least registering a half century, and with just 55 runs from the five previous innings against a reinvigorated West Indies team he was due to come good. It happened on a day when a few others in a suspect England batting order managed to get important runs under their belts.
Successive partnerships of 74 for the third wicket with Joe Denly (69, 99b, 11×4), 107 for the fourth wicket with Jos Buttler (56, 115b, 7×4) and 71 so far for the fifth wicket with Ben Stokes (29 batting) ensured that the captain’s steadying influence was ever-present from the moment he arrived at the crease midway through the morning session.
Resuming at the overnight position of 19 without loss, the tourists suffered an immediate setback when Rory Burns clipped the first delivery of the morning to Alzarri Joseph at square-leg to give Paul immediate success.
West Indies did not help their increasingly difficult situation when Shimron Hetmyer put down a simple chance offered by Denly off Gabriel. It proved a costly miss.
Like Denly before him, Buttler played the role of the aggressor in his century stand with Root until Roach produced an unplayable delivery to breach the batsman’s defences in the final session and claim his 18th wicket of the series.
England 277 and 325 for 4 wickets (Joe Root 111 batting, Joe Denly 69, Jos Buttler 56). West Indies 154. Match to continue.