West Indies v England: Gary Ballance & Joe Root extend lead

By Justin GouldingBBC Sport
Gary Ballance
Gary Ballance had made 46 runs in his previous five innings for England in all forms of cricket
First Test, day three, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua
England 399 & 116-3: Ballance 44*, Root 32*
West Indies 295: Blackwood 112*; Tredwell 4-47
England lead by 220 runs

England recovered from another top-order collapse to move into a commanding position in the first Test against West Indies.

Armed with a first-innings lead of 104, England slipped to 52-3 as Jonathan Trott and Alastair Cook failed again.

However, Gary Ballance and Joe Root saw the tourists to 116-3 - 220 ahead - at the close of day three in Antigua.

Earlier, James Tredwell took 4-47 to bowl West Indies out for 295 despite Jermaine Blackwood's unbeaten 112.

Blackwood's maiden Test century, in his sixth match, and two early wickets for the potent Jerome Taylor went to waste somewhat as West Indies failed to maintain the pressure in the evening session.

Ballance, initially cautious, and the typically energetic Root batted with increasing freedom against a tiring attack as they made 44 and 32 not out respectively.

Cook & Trott form worries Boycott

While England can be satisfied with their lead, especially given West Indies must bat last on a pitch showing occasional signs of variable bounce, their top order remains a cause for concern.

Having slipped to 34-3 in the first innings, England again lost both openers cheaply.

Trott, promoted to the top of the order in his first Test since November 2013, followed up his three-ball duck on Monday by making four.

He was caught behind driving at Taylor, who found considerable swing with the new ball, and a leaden-footed Cook drove to gully to depart for 13.

First-innings centurion Ian Bell was even more culpable, run out for 11 after a half-hearted attempt to regain his ground following an aborted single to backward square-leg.

But Ballance, whose early caution made way for the odd punched drive, eased England's nerves, sharing an unbroken stand of 64 with Root to help convert a position of some peril into one from which the tourists can press for victory.

Tredwell said: "That partnership at the end got us into a decent position, so we'll look to build a sizeable lead and assess how long we need to bowl them out."

England's stuttering start with the bat took some of the gloss of an impressive bowling performance led by Tredwell, who claimed three of the six West Indies wickets to fall after they resumed on 155-4.

On the day that fellow off-spinner Moeen Ali's addition to the squad for the final two Tests was announced, Tredwell mixed his pace and flight adroitly on a surface offering minimal turn.

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew
"England are closing in on a match-winning position, aided by some erratic West Indian bowling. If they can bat positively, James Anderson should be running in again by tea-time, hoping to break Ian Botham's record and set England on the way to winning this match."

"By putting in a performance I'll hopefully give [the selectors] a few headaches," said Tredwell. "Who's to say we both might not play in the next game?"

He landed arguably the biggest blow when he had Shivnarine Chanderpaul, advancing down the pitch, taken at the wider of two short covers for 46.

That ended a 41-over stand of 93 for the fifth wicket, and Denesh Ramdin - discomfited by Stuart Broad's extra bounce - gloved down the leg side to strengthen England's advantage.

However, Blackwood mixed unpredictable aggression with stout defence as he converted his overnight 30 into a superb 205-ball hundred.

Jason Holder helped add 49 for the seventh wicket before driving Tredwell tamely to Ballance, and lack of spin did for Kemar Roach as West Indies' last three wickets fell for the addition of three runs.

James Anderson took the final wicket, leaving him one shy of Ian Botham's England record of 383. He will be expected to surpass it on the fourth afternoon.

James Tredwell
James Tredwell drops Jermaine Blackwood on 43 off Ben Stokes
Jermaine Blackwood
Jermaine Blackwood struck 14 fours and two sixes in his unbeaten 112
Supporter in fancy dress
A fan takes an unorthodox approach to keeping out of the sun
Jonathan Trott
Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott scored a combined 28 runs in four innings in the match
Ian Bell is run out
Ian Bell, who made 143 in the first innings, managed 11 in the second

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