Root century and Lawrence bravery puts England in control against West Indies


Joe Root’s 25th Test century helped England take control of the second Test in Barbados, boosting his side to a score of 244-3 at the close of play.

Arriving at the crease at 4-1 following the dismissal of Zak Crawley for a seventh-ball duck, Root asserted his authority on proceedings from the outset, sending a superb pull shot off the bowling of Jayden Seales for four with only the ninth ball he faced.

Another ton continues the England captain’s astonishing run of form. He has now registered eight centuries in 19 Tests since the start of 2021.

Confident on the drive and able to count on a plethora of classy shots, in many ways, it was a classic Root century. Although, it was one that presented opportunities for Kraigg Brathwaite’s side.

Particularly after lunch, when Root feathered down the leg-side but was put down by ‘keeper Joshua Da Silva when attempting to claim a one-handed, diving catch towards his left.

The skipper had initially battled well with former Yorkshire teammate Alex Lees (30), for a partnership worth 76 to see off the new ball but was complimented superbly by Dan Lawrence, who played a commanding and enterprising innings, undoubtedly his finest on the international stage.

While the 24-year-old will encounter sterner challenges than facing a wasteful West Indies side on another flat wicket, nothing should be taken away from the impression he made during his partnership of 164 alongside Root.

The highlight, if you had to pick one from his range of flair-contained shots, was a stylish six off Veerasammy Permaul, hit over deep-midwicket after advancing down the pitch against the off-spinner. It somewhat epitomized the nature of his knock.

Lawrence raced to his fourth international half-century, taking only 61 deliveries to get there and despite slowing down towards the latter stages of the day, thoroughly deserved a maiden Test hundred.

Albeit, the one chance he did present to the hosts should have been taken. Looking to send yet another drive to the boundary on 72, Lawrence misjudged the bounce on Seales’ delivery and edged into the hands of Alzarri Joseph who put down a simple opportunity in the slips.

Nonetheless, all was set for Lawrence to bring up the milestone on Thursday, presuming he would see out the remaining two balls of the day.

However, in heartbreaking fashion, the Essex man sent a drive straight into the hands of Brathwaite at cover on 91, providing a jubilant Jason Holder with his first wicket of the match.

The cruel circumstances of his dismissal should not distract onlookers from the quality of Lawrence’s innings. It will not come as a surprise if he is the biggest beneficiary of England’s “red-ball reset” if given the opportunity in a consistent position.

England will begin day two on 244-3 with Root 119 not out.

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