England star Joe Root leaps into the air after reaching his century against the West Indies on Friday. Photo: Action Images via Reuters

SOUTHAMPTON – Joe Root scored his second century of the World Cup as England crushed the West Indies by eight wickets in Southampton on Friday with 16.5 overs to spare.

The host nation won the toss and made the most of favourable bowling conditions on a day when the rain finally relented, bowling the West Indies out for 212.

But by the time they came to bat the sun was out and tournament favourites England rarely looked troubled, with Root in particular timing the ball beautifully during his 100 not out.

Test captain Root opened alongside Jonny Bairstow in place of the injured Jason Roy, who had limped off the field with a tight hamstring during the West Indies innings.

Root, who made 107 in England’s defeat against Pakistan, made batting look easy, scoring a run-a-ball 50 without having to take unnecessary risks as he and Bairstow tamed the West Indies quicks.

Shannon Gabriel had Bairstow caught by Carlos Brathwaite for 45, leaving England 95/1, but Chris Woakes was quickly into his stride, drilling a four back past Gabriel off his third ball.

With the end in sight, Woakes was dismissed for 40, caught by Shimron Hetmyer off the bowling of Gabriel.

Root reached three figures off 93 balls with 11 fours, and is now the tournament’s top-scorer – with a total of 279 runs in four innings.

Earlier, England contained the West Indies well but at a cost, with Roy and captain Eoin Morgan limping off the pitch.

Despite occasional flurries, the Caribbean side were never able to mount a sustained assault on England’s bowlers after Woakes and Jofra Archer conceded just eight runs off the first five overs of the match.

Fuelled by three wickets each for Archer and Mark Wood, England dismissed their opponents with more than five overs to spare.

Opener Chris Gayle, dropped early by Wood in the deep, briefly threatened, hitting Woakes for 10 in two balls, but was caught by Bairstow on the square-leg boundary for 36 off the bowling of Liam Plunkett.

During the course of his innings Gayle, who has previously indicated this will be his last World Cup, overtook Viv Richards as the leading scorer in one-day internationals between England and the West Indies.

Two balls after his dismissal West Indies were in deep trouble at 55-3 when Shai Hope was trapped in front of the wicket by Wood.

Nicholas Pooran and Hetmyer (39) combined to put on 89 runs for the fourth wicket before Root struck twice, holding on to catches off his own bowling to remove Hetmyer and Jason Holder.

Andre Russell shone briefly but was caught by Woakes off the bowling of Wood for 21 and the last four wickets tumbled for just 10 runs.

Morgan hobbled off the pitch in the 40th over, struggling to make his way up the pavilion steps and it was later confirmed he had suffered a back spasm.

Wood finished with figures of 3/18, while Archer took 3/30.

England are now second in the World Cup table with three wins and one defeat, one point behind New Zealand, while the West Indies have won one, lost two and had one no result in their four matches.

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AFP