Centurion Dom Sibley and Ben Stokes put England in control against West Indies
Dom Sibley completed a painstaking unbeaten century just before lunch on day two of the second Test against the West Indies with Ben Stokes not out on 99.
The pair stretched their unbroken fourth-wicket partnership to 183 but England made no attempt to pull away, adding just 57 to an already stately overnight total to reach 264 for three.
Sibley got over the line after 312 balls, punching through mid-on for three as he closed in on eight hours at the crease.
His previous Test hundred took 269 balls in Cape Town but this one was even more of a stoic affair, including just 15 runs in the session.
Sir Geoffrey Boycott is usually a useful frame of reference for obdurate English batsmen but his slowest century for England took 303 balls in Hyderabad, a number Sibley happily cruised past as he left the many balls which sailed a foot or more wide of off stump and blocked plenty others.
Among Englishmen on home soil Michael Atherton, who took three balls longer against the same opposition at The Oval in 2000, has taken more deliveries to reach three figures.
It remains to be seen if the solid foundation can prove a winning base for England – it did in Cape Town – and much responsibility rests with Stokes if that is to happen. He scored 40 runs in the morning’s play but was still heavily reserved by his usual standards.
He will be expected to go through the gears after working through 252 balls and an entertaining late duel with Shannon Gabriel, which included one nasty rap to the glove and a couple of expansive swings, suggests that could be on the cards.
As for the Windies, their bowlers mixed a handful of brilliant balls in the channel with a vast collection of fluff. Gabriel went too wide, too often and Kemar Roach is still searching for his first wicket of the series.
If England can put more minutes and more miles in their legs, the lower order could find run-scoring considerably easier as they seek to set up the game.