Ballance nears England hundred

Joe Root (59) also notched his ninth Test fifty and second of the match before he chopped on to his stumps, also for the second time.

Ben Stokes raced through to 33 off just 43 balls as there was little movement for the West Indies seam bowlers, with England looking to accelerate through to a lead of 400 plus and declare later in the day???s play.

Jerome Taylor ??? who bowled so well early on in England???s innings with the wickets of Jonathan Trott and Alastair Cook ??? didn???t offer the same threat this morning, going for 26 from his five overs.

Gary Ballance ??? resuming the day on 44 ??? started positively with a cut for four off Taylor in the first over of the day before driving through the covers to reach fifty in the fourth.

They were two signature shots of Ballance???s when so successful last summer and he continued to find the middle with them throughout the session.

Both he and Joe Root were driving beautifully in fact, with the latter sweetly striking two through the covers in one over off Taylor.

With little movement for Taylor or encouragement for the bowlers in general, the West Indies lacked the energy that has seen them dominate the opening sessions of the first three days. In contrast, they were ragged and sloppy in the field.

Shortly after Root brought up his fifty, the hundred partnership came up between him and Ballance, rather fortuitously with an edge off Sulieman Benn that evaded slip.

But Root soon departed, falling to Jason Holder ??? chopping onto stumps, a sign of his preference to play the ball late and on the back foot ?????as he fell in the same manner for the second time in the match.

In came Stokes, fresh from his impressive 79 in the first innings. Benn, desperate for his first wicket and with Stokes on nought, was sure he???d trapped him lbw.

He seemed to be the only one though as neither the umpire nor his own team-mates were too convinced. The third umpire was called for nonetheless and the ball was shown to be missing, meaning the West Indies have wasted both reviews.

Stokes got off the mark in the next over from the lanky left-arm spinner with a reverse-sweep for four, then repeated the dosage, only more powerfully, a few balls later.

It was an indication of his attacking intent as he and Ballance ??? who hit a beautiful slog-sweep for six earlier in the session ??? look to kick on after the interval and further add to England???s lead before a declaration comes.

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