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Root ton puts England on top

Batsman steers innings with unbeaten 118 as visiting side ends third day on 373 for 6 for a lead of 74 runs

Root ton puts England on top - Cricket News
Joe Root’s first Test century outside England came off 165 deliveries and had 13 fours and two sixes.
Joe Root’s sixth Test century propelled England to 373 for 6, a lead of 74 runs, at stumps on the third day of the second Test against the West Indies on Thursday (April 23).

Root, 24, was batting on 118 at the close with Jos Buttler (4 not out) for company, having put England in a good position after it had bowled the West Indies out for 299 on Wednesday at the National Cricket Stadium in St George’s Park, Grenada.

Root’s knock, his first Test century outside England, came off 165 deliveries and had 13 fours and two sixes. He dominated a 165-run stand for the fourth wicket with Gary Ballance that steadied England after Shannon Gabriel, the pacer, had made two quick strikes before tea that left England 164 for 3.

Ballance made a doughty 77 before being bowled by Marlon Samuels, leaving England 329 for 4. But Moeen Ali was run-out soon after without scoring, and Ben Stokes also didn’t last long, hitting Devendra Bishoo’s legspin straight to Jermaine Blackwood on the midwicket boundary as the West Indies took three wickets for 35 runs towards the end of the day to even the scales somewhat.

Earlier, Gabriel’s double-strike had brought the West Indies back after a century partnership for the opening wicket between Alastair Cook, the captain, and Jonathan Trott.

In an attritional period of play after England began the second session on 143 for 1, it lost Cook (76) and Ian Bell (1).

Cook had serenely progressed towards a half-century in the first session and appeared to set himself up for a first Test century in 23 months. That, however, was not to be, as he chopped a short ball from Gabriel on to his stumps in the fourth over of the second session. Gabriel struck again two overs later, when Bell fell in identical fashion.

The twin-strikes gave the West Indies an opening but Root and Ballance were equal to the task. The duo ensured that there was no further damage and saw through the rest of the session with some sturdy batting. The West Indies' bowlers maintained discipline on a placid track, but the pair found ways to score and kept England going at a decent rate. Root raised a  sixth consecutive score in excess of 50 in Test cricket, bringing up his half-century off 69 balls, while Ballance played the sheet anchor's role to perfection.

In the morning, Trott had helped himself to a half-century when England resumed on 74 without loss but fell towards the end of the first session while trying to accelerate. He attempted to drive a flighted delivery from Bishoo and was caught for 59 by Blackwood at second slip. It ended an opening stand of 125, the first century alliance for the first wicket for England in more than two years.

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