Joe Root ton anchors England assault

STEPPING UP: England skipper Joe Root drives one to the fence en route his unbeaten 111 on the third day of the third Test against the West Indies in St Lucia on Monday. AFP

Joe Root's 16th Test century highlighted England's first day of complete dominance in an otherwise disappointing Caribbean campaign as the captain anchored his team to an unassailable position by the end of the third day of the third and final Test against the West Indies at the Darren Sammy Stadium in St Lucia on Monday.

His workmanlike unbeaten 111 off 209 deliveries included just nine boundaries and typified the tourists' effort to make amends for previous failures in reaching stumps at 325 for four in their second innings, an overall lead of 448 runs with two days still available to push for a consolation victory having already surrendered the series and the Wisden Trophy with heavy defeats in the first two matches in Barbados and Antigua.

With the home side short-handed in the bowling department on the day due to an early injury to Keemo Paul, England took full advantage of the situation.

Root had never gone through an entire Test series without at least registering a half-century, and with just 55 runs from the five previous innings against a reinvigorated West Indies team he was due to come good. 

Successive partnerships of 74 for the third wicket with Joe Denly (69), 107 for the fourth wicket with Jos Buttler (56) and 71 so far for the fifth wicket with Ben Stokes (29 not out) ensured that the captain's steadying influence was ever-present from the moment he arrived at the crease midway through the morning session.

Resuming at the overnight position of 19 without loss, the tourists suffered an immediate setback when Rory Burns clipped the first delivery of the morning to Alzarri Joseph at square-leg to give Paul immediate success.

However, the young all-rounder left the field on a stretcher shortly after as he appeared to suffer a serious leg injury chasing a ball to the boundary.

Keaton Jennings was out midway through the morning when the left-hander attempted to turn a delivery from Joseph top the leg-side and the ball ricocheted off his body onto the stumps to send him back to the pavilion for 23.

If West Indies felt they had opened a doorway to the vulnerable core of the England batting then they were left disappointed as Denly, mindful about increasing questions over his credentials as a Test batsman, played fluently after his early life with the captain alongside.

Like Denly before him, Buttler played the role of the aggressor in his century stand with Root until Kemar Roach produced an unplayable delivery to breach the batsman's defences in the final session and claim his 18th wicket of the series.

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Joe Root ton anchors England assault

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