Cricket: Root century helps England build huge lead against West Indies
(Reuters) - Joe Root became the first England player to score a century during the series as the visitors strengthened their stranglehold in the third test against West Indies on Monday.
The England captain compiled an unbeaten 111 in St Lucia as the visitors closed in on a consolation victory after losing the first two tests in the three-match series.
Ben Stokes was on 29 and England were 325 for four in their second innings at the close, an overall lead of 448 runs with two days remaining in Gros Islet.
Root had endured a poor series with the bat, making just 55 runs in his five previous innings.
But he made amends by notching up his 16th test century with a classic drive through mid-off for four, albeit off a generous full toss from Alzarri Joseph.
Root's celebration showed just how much the innings meant to him as he punched the air, hugged team mate Stokes and then soaked up the minute-long applause from a pro-England crowd singing his name.
West Indies endured a long day in the field, picking up just four wickets.
Their cause was not helped by a thigh injury incurred early by pace bowler Keemo Paul, which left them with only three quick bowlers complemented by Roston Chase's part-time spin.
Batsman Darren Bravo was also absent from the field after being struck on a finger on Sunday.
The morning session started well for West Indies when Rory Burns fell for 10 after clipping the first ball of the day straight into the hands of Joseph at square leg.
Paul picked up the wicket but his morning turned sour when he later left the field on a stretcher, and from then on West Indies struggled to impose themselves.
Keaton Jennings was the only other England batsman dismissed in the first session.
Jennings' wretched tour continued when he allowed an innocuous Joseph delivery to hit his thigh pad before the ball trickled onto the stumps so softly that it barely dislodged a bail.
Jennings had a wry smile on his face as he departed for 23, his highest score in four knocks in this series.
Joe Denly also gave his wicket away softly, caught-behind off a wide Shannon Gabriel delivery for 69, while Kemar Roach used the second new ball to bowl Jos Buttler for 56.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Pritha Sarkar)