A 'good hard scrap' gives Root his 16th Test ton

12 February 2019 11:49 Sports Desk

Though the series has been lost, Joe Root can at least take comfort in some personal glory. A 16th Test century, from 189 balls, not only enhanced England's lead against the West Indies in this third Test but also allowed Root to put a patchy run of form behind him.

This was Root's third hundred in seven matches which represents a handy return to century-making for a player often chastised for failing to convert starts to three figures. Before the first in that particular sequence - against India last September - his previous one came back in August 2017.

Root was far from fluent and had to grind, even though England were in a position of strength. Just 55 runs in the previous five innings in this series has been reflected in poor results for captain and team. But a two hour net on a designated day-off between the second and third Test with batting coach Mark Ramprakash gave him the technical confidence to ensure he does not leave the West Indies empty handed. One notable improvement from Root's perspective was his alignment at the crease.

"It was a good hard scrap," said Root of his innings. "But it was really enjoyable because sometimes, when things aren't quite happening for you, you think you're battling a little bit. To come out the other side is really pleasing.

"It's been a tough series for me personally and for the guys. We've worked extremely hard on this trip but things haven't gone as we wanted. We've not played good cricket at times.

"So to respond as we have today and be in this position of strength with two days left is really pleasing. It's really pleasing to show improvement and willingness to adapt to conditions. Even though the series is gone there's still a lot to play for."

Root, who admitted that he wasn't moving his feet as well as he would have liked in recent times, said: "My feet haven't always been doing what I want them to so it's been a constant battle to find a formula that gets me off to a good start. Once you're off and running things become a little bit easier. It's nice to see all the hard work come to the fore by being here at the end of the day not out."

Root will begin day four on 111 not out and the feeling is they will bat on until lunch before entertaining a declaration. They currently sit on a mammoth lead of 448 and look odds on to secure a consolation win.

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