Root's ton highlights England's dominance

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Brief scores: England 277 & 325/4 (Joe Root 111*, Joe Denly 69; Keemo Paul 1-11) lead Windies 154 by 448 runs

Following repeated batting failures in the series, England finally turned up with the willow to take complete control of the third and final Test at St. Lucia. Prior to this Test match, England had gone past 200 just once in the four innings which was the primary reason behind them surrendering meekly in both the Tests. While they made 277 in the first innings of this ongoing Test, it was largely due to the century partnership between Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes. But on Monday, they didn't have to rely on just two individuals as a collective effort - led by skipper Joe Root's unbeaten ton - enabled them to post 325/4 on the board at stumps, stretching that lead to an imposing 448.

The performance came on the back of a first-ball wicket to kickstart the day. Rory Burns received a gentle half-volley on the pads but all he could do was time it to perfection straight to the square leg fielder. Joe Denly then began his innings with a boundary through third man and continued to keep finding the fence with a straight drive off Shannon Gabriel being the highlight. In all fairness to the bowler, he should have had Denly very early in the innings as an easy catch at slip was shelled by Shimron Hetmyer.

Keaton Jennings at the other end managed to survive for a quite sometime but looked tentative in his stay as he continued to fight for his spot in the side. Eventually, he got unlucky as a delivery bowled at the pads by Alzarri Joseph ricocheted off his pads to knock off the bails. With Paul not available after bowling just two overs following a right quadricep strain suffered while trying to prevent a boundary, Windies were a bowler short for almost the entire day and the visitors cashed in big time.

Denly fetched three boundaries off the first three overs post the lunch break and eventually got to his maiden fifty in Test cricket, boosting his chances of retaining his spot in the XI for the Ashes. His positive approach did lead to his downfall as he chased a short and wide delivery off Gabriel to get an under edge through to the keeper. While Root continued to remain sedate post the dismissal, Buttler got going immediately racing to 11 off just 10 balls. The duo looked at ease against the offspin of Roston Chase and took full toll of a tiresome looking bowling attack to put on a century stand.

Windies needed the brand new cherry badly to break the partnership as Kemar Roach managed to move one away after pitching to beat Buttler's defence and knock the stumps. Gabriel had a constant tussle with Root and Stokes in particular post Buttler's dismissal, but he also managed to leak runs going at more than four an over as boundaries came thick and fast in the final hour. The England skipper, entering the nervous nineties, was helped with a freebie by Joseph as a full toss was driven down the ground to bring up his 16th Test century: It was just the third century he had made in almost 18 months and the relief was palpable on his face especially after the struggles he had to endure early on in the series.

In the process, England not only registered their highest score of the series but also have six more wickets and two full days left to add to that tally. It's safe to say that this Test is heading towards only one direction.


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