Shannon Gabriel was given an on-field warning about abusive language on the third day here, the nature of which Joe Root refused to disclose after stumps.
Root was involved in a running verbal battle with the West Indies fast bowler on his way to an unbeaten 111. During the afternoon session footage from the Sky broadcast emerged on social media that appeared to show the England captain telling Gabriel “there is nothing wrong with being gay”.
No audio has emerged to clarify what prompted Root to say this. Gabriel was spoken to by the umpires, Rod Tucker and Kumar Dharmasena, and warned about his conduct. The officials are understood to have told the match referee, Jeff Crowe, that they did not hear anything that would fall foul of the ICC’s code of conduct.
Asked about the incident at the close, Root said: “It’s Test cricket and [Shannon] is an emotional guy trying to do everything he can to win a Test match. Sometimes people say things on the field that they might regret, but they should stay on the field.
“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.
Asked if Gabriel crossed the line of acceptability, Root said: “I think it should stay on the field. I don’t want anything said in the middle to ruin what’s been a good Test series for him and his team.”
Richard Pybus, the West Indies head coach, claimed to have no knowledge of the incident at the time due to the television in the dressing room being turned down. He said: “Nothing has been reported to me. If a comment was made, we will review it. And if it was untoward, we will be addressing it.”
Root’s 16th Test century was England’s first of the tour. But though the series was lost last week in Antigua, and West Indies lost the seamer Keemo Paul to injury early in the day, the England captain drew some personal satisfaction.
“When you play Test cricket there is no such thing as a dead rubber,” he said. “You have the opportunity to play for your country and it means the world. There are West Indies bowlers with great numbers in the past 12 months and on a wicket that did a bit, we’ve done well today.”