Joe Root has scored his sixth Test century, steering England to 6-373 at stumps on day three against the West Indies in Grenada with the tourists leading by 74 runs.
Root finished the day unbeaten on 118 as England replied to the West Indies’ 299 all out in the second Test.
They will go into the penultimate day ahead by 74 runs with Root and Jos Buttler seeking to build on that advantage in the quest for the victory on the last day that escaped them last week at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
“I’m feeling good, the movement’s good, so obviously you’ve got to cash in at times like this and score as many as you can while things are going so well,” said Root.
“We’ve got plenty of batting left in that dressing room and we’ll want to get a big lead and only bat once.”
Root’s commanding knock, his first Test century outside of England, came off 125 deliveries and was embellished by 13 fours and two sixes.
He dominated a 165-run fourth-wicket partnership with Gary Ballance and almost knocked the fight out of the West Indies after fast bowler Shannon Gabriel made two important strikes in the early afternoon to give his team hope.
Ballance, the doughty left-hander, was prepared to stay in Root’s slipstream, cruising to 77 before falling to a careless shot within sight of his second hundred in successive Tests.
He dragged a wide delivery from part-time spinner Marlon Samuels onto the stumps and then watched from the pavilion as new batsman Moeen Ali ran himself out without scoring.
Ben Stokes didn’t last long, hoisting a Devendra Bishoo long-hop to Jermaine Blackwood on the midwicket boundary to take some of the gloss off England’s effort as they lost three wickets for 35 runs near the end of a day.
Earlier, Alastair Cook’s quest for a first Test century in more than two years ended on 76 as he became the first of two wickets for Gabriel, playing on to the burly fast bowler 40 minutes after lunch.
Ian Bell fell in similar manner five runs later, ushering in Root at 3-164.
He wasted no time in setting about the bowling and the summoning of the second new ball by West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin after 85 overs only succeeded in accelerating the scoring.