England played themselves into a position of dominance, reaching 373 for 6 at the end of day three of the second Test at Grenada. Joe Root was the star of the day, remaining unbeaten on 118 while skipper Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Gary Ballance chipped in with impressive supporting acts. After rained marred the first two days of the Test, clearer weather greeted the teams on the third day, and England's batsmen took full advantage of a same to build a significant 74-run lead. West Indies fought back late in the day, to wrest back some of the initiative, but it remained England's day largely thanks to Root.
The day began with England resuming with their overnight batsmen, Cook and Trott, who had gotten the side off to an assured start. Both Cook and Trott had a point to prove, and while they did not fulfil the expectations completely, they at least assured that England were in a position of comfort. Labouring along, the veteran duo completed a century partnership for the opening stand. This was England's first opening stand in more than a year and half. That, in itself, tells a story.
Cook was desperate for an individual hundred. He hasn't got one for sometime now. He had a good opportunity here, but dragged one onto the stumps from Shannon Gabriel when on 76, to end his vigil which lasted 211 balls. Earlier in the day, Trott also failed to build on a half-century. He dragged himself to 59, rather unconvincingly, before Devendra Bishoo bamboozled him. Although, Trott and Cook missed individual landmarks, they did put their side in a position of comfort.
Root and Gary Ballance featured in the partnership that put England on top. They had lost Ian Bell cheaply, who fell in a similar manner to Cook. But, Ballance and Root just did not give West Indies bowlers any further chance to make a comeback. Root has been in the form of his life, notching up his sixth consecutive score of fifty plus. He was at his fluent best, finding the gaps, and hitting boundaries at will against both spin and seam. Root also upped the run rate, getting his runs from 165 balls with 13 fours and 2 sixes.
At the other end, Ballance was more subdued, but he was the perfect foil to Root. He deserved a hundred for his efforts, but when on 77, he was cleaned up by Marlon Samuels. West Indies got a couple of late wickets as Moeen Ali ran himself out, and Ben Stokes fell to Bishoo for a laboured 8. But with a lead of 74, and four wickets in hand, England clearly have the ascendancy.
--By A Cricket Correspondent