Joe Root puts England on top but Windies dig deep

England batsman Joe Root hits out on his way to a brilliant unbeaten 182. Picture: Getty
England batsman Joe Root hits out on his way to a brilliant unbeaten 182. Picture: Getty
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JOE ROOT’S exquisite 182 not out gave England a healthy first-innings lead on day four of the second Test only for a wicketless afternoon session to halt their progress in Grenada.

Yorkshire batsman Root was at his effortless best in the morning, scoring 64 runs from the same number of deliveries to turn his overnight 118 into yet another ‘daddy’ hundred.

His efforts propelled the tourists to 464 all out – 165 in front – but England could not follow-up on James Anderson’s early strike, leaving the West Indies 122 for one at tea.

With the pitch in Grenada flattening out amid no obvious hint of deterioration, Kraigg Brathwaite (68no) and Darren Bravo (47no) put on 119 runs after lunch.

Root had been a class above at the start of the day, reaching 150 for the fourth time in six Test tons, not to mention the unbeaten 149 which also sits on his glittering CV.

The 24-year-old passed 2,000 Test runs in the process, making him the second youngest Englishman to do so after captain Alastair Cook and the ninth quickest in innings played.

The game moved along briskly with 91 runs and four wickets to wrap up the England innings.

Hopes were high that Root’s overnight partner, Jos Buttler, could take the game away from the West Indies with his dazzling array of strokes, but he was a victim of over-exuberance.

Having dispatched Devendra Bishoo for four with a charge down the ground he attempted a repeat off the next delivery and was stumped after being beaten in the air on 13.

Chris Jordan had a lucky escape five balls later when he dragged Shannon Gabriel into his off stump only for his bails to remain in position. He managed 15 more, including two clean fours, before TV umpire Billy Bowden ruled him run out by the finest of margins courtesy of Jason Holder’s flat throw.

Bowden also sent Stuart Broad on his way for a second consecutive Test duck. Broad reviewed in hope rather than expectation when an attempted sweep brushed a glove and Smith took an alert catch.

That left England 431 for nine, but Root batted brilliantly with Anderson to add 33 for the tenth wicket.

Root was in full control, flogging Bishoo for the third and fourth sixes of his innings and treating Holder to an impudent flick from his limited-overs arsenal.

But he was left high and dry when Anderson failed to notice that Holder had used his height to gather a wayward throw from the outfield, not even attempting to ground his bat as the wickets were parted.

Anderson began to make amends for his error almost immediately. His first nine deliveries with the new ball were seen off by Brathwaite, but it took just one to remove the left-handed Smith.

England’s newly-crowned leading Test wicket-taker swung one away from the Grenadian, who made a mess of both judgment and execution. He appeared unsure if he should leave or play and settled for a messy half measure that steered the ball into leg stump.

Cook tossed the ball to Moeen Ali for the last over before lunch but after finding Bravo’s outside edge with his second attempt, the next two were loose and clubbed to the boundary.

Runs began to flow as the afternoon progressed, with Ben Stokes a particular target. He leaked 27 runs in a four-over burst, including six boundaries.

Brathwaite took a particular liking to the all-rounder, sending his first two deliveries to the ropes and flashing two more thick edges between slips and gully. Bravo also punished Stokes when he offered width, bringing an early end to the spell.

Brathwaite continued to pick the gaps backward of square, cutting the returning Broad for his seventh four to reach 50 in 108 balls. The hundred partnership followed closely behind, to yet another cut four for Brathwaite, as England began to run out of ideas.

Meanwhile, Shakib Al Hasan top-scored as Bangladesh eased to a limited-overs clean sweep over Pakistan, with a seven-wicket victory in the one-off Twenty20 at Mirpur.

The hosts completed a first one-day international series whitewash of their neighbours at the same venue on Wednesday, and in the sprint format they easily knocked off 141 for five with almost four overs to spare under lights thanks to Shakib (57no) and Sabbir Rahman (51no).

Pakistan, who opted to bat, struggled to impose themselves throughout. Shahid Afridi, back to lead the team and deploying himself at No 3, was one of several to get a start but little more. He fell caught-behind, one of two wickets for debutant seamer Mustafizur Rahman. It was opener Mukhtar Ahmed – also on debut – who top-scored for Pakistan, with 37. But the sum total rarely seemed sufficient.

Bangladesh hit early trouble when Soumya Sarkar was run out by Saeed Ajmal without facing a ball, and the hosts were 38 for three in the sixth over, when Mushfiqur Rahim chopped on to Wahab Riaz.

But Shakib and Sabbir took over in an unbroken stand of 105, the former captain passing the 50 mark with his eighth four, from the 40th ball he faced. Sabbir also bagged his maiden Twenty20 international half-century before the chase was done, from just 30 balls.