WI vs Eng: Root ton leads England to 74-run lead on day 3 of 2nd testSt. George's, Grenada: Joe Root's first overseas century propelled England to 373-6 and a 74-run lead over the West Indies after three days of the second test on Thursday.Root joined Gary Ballance after lunch after
St. George's, Grenada: Joe Root's first overseas century propelled England to 373-6 and a 74-run lead over the West Indies after three days of the second test on Thursday.
Root joined Gary Ballance after lunch after England had just lost captain Alastair Cook and Ian Bell in quick succession. Together on a placid pitch, they upped the dire run-rate and lifted England past West Indies' first-innings total of 299.
Ballance was out for 77 in the stand of 165, diverting a drive of part-time offspinner Marlon Samuels on to his leg stump at 329-4.
Root, on 86 at the time, remained focused and aggressive as Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes threw away their wickets, reaching his century off 125 balls about halfway through the evening session.
At stumps, Root was on a commanding, unbeaten 118, and Jos Buttler at 4.
Root's hundred was the sixth in his 24th test, and his sixth successive score over 50, equaling the England record. He was in such dominant form, hitting two sixes and 13 fours, that his first false shot was not until he was on 102, a lofted hit off legspinner Davendra Bishoo that landed just beyond the mid-on fielder.
The loss of Ballance, Ali, and Stokes for 35 runs were unexpected setbacks for England but, with Root to return on the fourth day, they retain the advantage on a batsman's pitch. The first of three tests in the series was drawn in Antigua last week.
The foundation for England's position was first laid by the opening partnership of 125 between Cook and Jonathan Trott that started on the second afternoon. Resuming at 74 without loss in bright sunshine, Trott's was the only wicket before lunch, edging a catch to second slip for 59, driving at a leg-break from Bishoo.
Trott recovered his form after scores of 0 and 4 in Antigua, his first test since pulling out of England's series in Australia in November 2013.
His and Cook's century opening stand was England's first in more than two years.
Root and Balance came together after Shannon Gabriel, the muscular fast bowler who was a late replacement for the injured Jerome Taylor, struck twice off six balls after lunch.
He bowled left-hander Cook for 76 with the first ball of his 12th over, leaving the England captain 24 short of his first hundred in two years and 19 tests, and Ian Bell for 1 with the first ball of his 13th. Both diverted the ball into the stumps from the under edge of the bat as England faltered at 164-3.
The damage was brief.
Root and Ballance were in such control that the wickets of Ballance, after an innings of 188 balls with a six and eight fours, of Ali run out for 0, and of Stokes caught at deep mid-wicket for 8 off Bishoo, came as a surprise.
Samuels gave the unimpressed Stokes a lingering salute, but the West Indies couldn't prise out Root.