Root century builds sizeable England advantage

By Sports Desk February 11, 2019

England captain Joe Root led by example with an unbeaten century establishing a healthy lead over West Indies on day three of the third Test in St Lucia.

Root became the first England batsman to score a hundred in the series by posting 111 as the tourists built a 448-run advantage over the Windies at the Darren Sammy National Stadium on Monday.

The hosts started brilliantly with Keemo Paul removing Rory Burns (10) with the day's opening delivery, but he was forced off in the fourth over after sustaining a thigh injury in the field.

Keaton Jennings made a start before falling for 23 in bizarre fashion to leave serious question marks hanging over his future in the team ahead of the Ashes.

However, Root anchored England's innings by building a 107-run union with Jos Buttler (56) after Joe Denly (69) claimed his maiden Test fifty.

The skipper opted not to declare before the close, which he saw out alongside Ben Stokes (29 not out) with England at 325-4 and in a strong position to avoid a whitewash.

Burns and Jennings steered England through 10 overs on Sunday, but the former did not last a single ball more with a tame shot off Paul straight to Alzarri Joseph at square leg.

Paul was taken away on a stretcher after pulling up while chasing a cover drive from Denly and Shannon Gabriel (1-87) was left fuming when Shimron Hetmyer put the opener down on 12 at slip – although replays suggested the seamer had overstepped.

Joseph (1-63) followed Paul's lead by claiming a wicket with his opening delivery, though there was an element of luck in Jennings dragging onto leg stump via his thigh pad.

Denly brought up his fifty after lunch with the eighth of his 11 boundaries but his fine knock came to an end after a second wild cut in succession saw him edge Gabriel through to Shane Dowrich.

Buttler injected some urgency but soon settled and overturned a caught-behind decision from umpire Rod Tucker with a wise review before tea.

Root had his first fifty for eight innings off spinner Roston Chase (0-92) but Kemar Roach (1-31) made full use of the new ball by bowling Buttler with a pinpoint delivery.

The England captain punished a full toss from Joseph with a punch back down the ground to reach three figures and cap off a fine day for the tourists that puts a first win of the tour in their sights.

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    A controversial selection ahead of the ICC World Cup, Brathwaite had struggled to make any real impression at the tournament.  In three prior matches, his best scores were 16 against Australia and 14 against England.  He was dropped for Bangladesh and possibly only selected for New Zealand because of the injury to Andre Russell.

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    "It is finally good that it has come to fruition. I continue to work hard. Obviously heartbreaking to not get over the line but I give thanks for the performance and being able to get the team in the position that I was able to,” he added.

  • South Africa suffering confidence crisis - Du Plessis South Africa suffering confidence crisis - Du Plessis

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    "We're not doing ourselves justice as a team, with the skill that's in that dressing room.

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    PAKISTAN MUST KEEP BELIEVING

    With matches against New Zealand, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to come, Pakistan could still squeeze into the semi-finals. Their batting performance was solid enough in this match, albeit against a largely impotent attack, and if Amir can put the brakes on Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Co. at Edgbaston on Wednesday, then New Zealand's unbeaten start could be under threat. They have a glimmer of hope now.

    PROTEAS PAIN

    Questions will be asked about where it all went wrong for South Africa. Dale Steyn's absence was a major blow to their hopes, but they began the tournament badly and lacked the guile to set the team back on a sure course. Will Du Plessis stay on as skipper? That is sure to come in for scrutiny, with Aiden Markram having been tipped in some quarters as a suitable replacement despite his struggles with the bat. The inquest can begin now.

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