Ugly sledge ignites Test match
ENGLAND skipper Joe Root scored an unbeaten century in St Lucia as the visitors piled up a 448-run lead at stumps on day three of the third Test against the West Indies, but a testy exchange with an opponent created headlines of its own.
Root had managed just 55 in his five previous innings on tour but will end the series on a high, closing day three unbeaten on 111.
Speaking after his knock, the England skipper addressed his war of words with West Indian fast bowler Shannon Gabriel.
The pair were engaged in a running battle as Root powered towards another Test ton before the tension seemed to escalate at one point during the 28-year-old's partnership with Joe Denly.
A stump microphone picked up the back end of Root and Gabriel's exchange, in which Root appeared to say: "There's nothing wrong with being gay."
"Don't use it as an insult," the England captain added.
Gabriel's initial remarks weren't aired, but the quick bowler was spoken to by umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Rod Tucker after his conduct, however it is believed they didn't hear anything that would breach the ICC Code of Conduct.
When asked post-play about the incident, Root suggested Gabriel may have said something he "might regret" but was reluctant to explain what was said out on the field.
"Sometimes people say things on the field that they might regret, but they should stay on the field," Root said.
"He's a good guy who plays hard cricket and is proud to be in the position he is. The battle was a good contest. He's had a wonderful series and he should be proud.
"I don't want anything said in the middle to ruin what's been a good Test series for him and his team."
West Indies coach Richard Pybus wasn't aware of the incident, but suggested he would take action is they were found to be "untoward".
"Nothing has been reported to me but if a comment was made we will review it. If it was untoward we will be addressing it." Pybus said.
Earlier, Joe Root compiled an unbeaten century as England pilled up a 448-run lead at stumps on day three, as the tourists reached 4-325.
England's innings was comfortably its best, and longest, of the tour and although there were more disappointments for openers Rory Burns and Keaton Jennings, 69 from Denly offered cause for cautious optimism.
Root's ton was his 16th in Test cricket - to put him level with Michael Atherton, Graham Thorpe and Herbert Sutcliffe - and his fifth overseas, a reminder that despite his recent wobble he remains the bedrock of England's batting.
The tourists began the day at 0-19 and looking to build on what was already a strong position, 142 ahead.
Things remained that way for just a few seconds, Burns flicking Keemo Paul's first ball of the day to square leg to depart for 10.
Jennings scored 23 from 99 balls before he was bowled in ugly, if unfortunate, fashion after Alzarri Joseph's delivery took a detour off his thigh pad. Denly was dropped on 12 and brought up his fifty in style, lifting a four over mid-on and then crunching Kemar Roach down the ground.
His innings came to an end when he got a thin edge off Gabriel's bowling.
Jos Buttler joined Root at the crease and the pair added 107 before Roach nipped one in at Buttler and took his off stump.
Joseph helped Root to three figures, providing a full toss which the skipper gratefully punched to the ropes, while Ben Stokes was 29 not out at stumps.
Root said he will assess the match situation overnight before making a decision about when he might declare.
"If it (the pitch) starts to misbehave like it did when they took the new ball, more frequently than the old ball, that might give us a little nudge to pull out," he said.
The hosts have already won the three-match series 2-0 after dominant wins in North Sound and Bridgetown.