In Brief

Joe Root hits a century as England finally shine in the West Indies

Tourists build a commanding lead in the third and final Test match

West Indies vs. England: third Test day three
  • Where: Darren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia 
  • England first innings: 277 (Ben Stokes 79, Kemar Roach 4-48) 
  • West Indies first innings: 154 (Mark Wood 5-41, Moeen Ali 4-36) 
  • England second innings: 325-4 (Joe Root 111 not out, Joe Denly 69) 
  • England lead by 448 runs 

England finally found some form in the third day of the final Test against the West Indies, and they’re now in a strong position to win the match and avoid a series whitewash.

An unbeaten century from skipper Joe Root and a maiden Test 50 from Joe Denly enabled the tourists to end the day on 325-4, an intimidating lead of 448.

It was the first time on the tour that England have dominated their hosts with the bat, and it makes it all the more puzzling why they crumbled to humiliating defeats in the first two Tests.

Tough times

“It’s been a tough three games and we have been outplayed at times so I think it was important we showed some resilience, bounced back and showed what we are capable of as a side,” Root admitted to BBC’s Test Match Special.

Root finished the day not out on 111, and the Yorkshireman needed to be at his best when he came to the wicket after openers Rory Burns (ten) and Keaton Jennings (23) had fallen cheaply.

But Denly, playing in only his second Test, dug deep and together with his skipper they put on 74. When he was out for 69, Jos Buttler came to the crease and reached his half-century. Buttler scored 56 from 115 balls. 

After his 79 in the first innings Ben Stokes was not out alongside Root at the close of play on 29 runs from 59 balls.

Sweet 16th

Root struggled at first to find his rhythm but it returned in the afternoon, and he brought up his 16th Test century with his ninth four of the innings.

If Root’s century has put his team in a position from which they should go and win the match, it was also a personal triumph for a batsman who had scored just 55 runs in his previous five innings with a highest score of 22.

“You have to be realistic sometimes, if you feel form is a numbers game, then I have had a lean run but I’ve got a good approach to batting and it’s stood me in good stead until now,” he reflected.

Declaration decision

In an illustration of how England have toiled in the West Indies this winter, the 325-4 is the first time the tourists have passed 300 runs in an innings.

The key decision today on the fourth day for Root will be the timing of the declaration.

“We’ll have a think about the declaration, see how it plays after the roller and make a decision early on [Tuesday],” said the England captain.

“It feels the more wear you get in this pitch, the quicker it becomes so it might be that the more runs and pressure you put them under, it might speed things up later on.”

Today’s play at the Darren Sammy Stadium starts at 2pm (GMT) and is live on Sky Sports.

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