England captain Joe Root, who registered his 16th Test century after a patch of low scores, said he enjoyed the battle and was pleased with the improvement his side had shown in the third Test against Windies in St Lucia.
Joe Root came into the game with 4, 22, 7 and 7 in the previous two Tests of the series, both of which England lost to concede the series. He snapped the string of low scores with a gritty century on Monday, 11 February, to put his side in complete command.
The knock came against an in-form attack, featuring the likes of Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach and Alzarri Joseph on a reasonably lively wicket. Root acknowledged that it was a battle, which is what made the knock more special.
"It was a good hard scrap," said Root after third day's play. "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.
"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's improvement mirrored an overall improvement by the team, and they're now 448 runs in front with four wickets still in hand, including that of Root batting on 111. The series may be lost, but this is a good chance for England to show why they're so high on the MRF Tyres ICC Test rankings.
"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."
England have lost their openers but it has been a good session for the visitors. Their lead over West Indies extends to 231 runs, going into lunch on day three on 108/2 in their second innings.#WIvENG LIVE ➡️ https://t.co/D8r0blpTH7 pic.twitter.com/YmmkY9ed0e— ICC (@ICC) February 11, 2019
Root enjoyed a fantastic 74-run stand with Joe Denly for the second-wicket and was at the other end to see the 32-year-old bring up his maiden half-century before he got out for 69. The captain lauded the effort.
"He played beautifully," Root said. "I thought he played with good balance, good style and grace – as you'd expect him to when he gets runs. He should have a lot of confidence with the way he played."