sport

England post testing target

Joe Root battled bravely after a thumb injury to post his maiden ODI hundred as he and Jos Buttler piled up 303 for six against West Indies.

England's fifth-wicket pair combined to great effect in a stand of 175, Root (107) standing firm after being hit on the right thumb by Ravi Rampaul when he had made just a single.

Despite at times appearing in significant discomfort, he anchored the innings expertly following the loss of England's first two wickets in two balls to Dwayne Bravo.

Root's 112-ball century was full of his habitual deflections, especially fine on the off-side, and what he lacked in power he made up for by rarely missing a scoring opportunity or picking the perfect placement.

Buttler (99) was characterisically more explosive - hitting seven fours and four sixes from 84 balls - and between them they gave England obvious prospects of clinching a much-needed 2-1 series victory in this decider at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

Both benefited from the DRS process.

West Indies were convinced Sunil Narine had Root lbw on 23 but discovered, via Hawkeye, that the ball would have bounced over.

Then Buttler overturned a caught-behind decision on 22 off Marlon Samuels.

Openers Moeen Ali (55) and Michael Lumb had 37 on the board in the seventh over, only for Bravo (three for 60) to interrupt England's progress after they had been put into bat.

Lumb and then Ben Stokes both contributed to their own downfall.

The opener steered a cut into the hands of point, and Stokes fell for a golden duck when he played with neither a straight nor cross-bat as he mistimed a ball off his hip for an easy catch in the leg side.

Before a half-hour break for rain, which cost no overs, there was a five-minute stoppage when Root was hit and needed treatment.

Pain-killers appeared to work while he and Moeen were sharing a stand of 68, but Root soon began to show more distress.

By then, Moeen had reached his near run-a-ball first international 50 with a slog-sweep for six off Samuels - only to chip a catch back to Nikita Miller soon afterwards.

Eoin Morgan, fit after knee trouble for the first time in the series, was not attuned to Narine's variations and was bowled on the back foot.

But after two more wickets had therefore fallen for one run, Root and Buttler simply took over.

Both eventually holed out in pursuit of the 94 runs which came in the last 10 overs, Buttler cruelly one short of what would also have been his first international hundred.