A disciplined 65 from opener Kraigg Brathwaite set the platform for his side to attack later on, where a punchy 61 from Shane Dowrich punished a tiring bowling attack.
As for the hosts, stand-in captain Ben Stokes was the star with the ball, collecting 4-49 from his 14 overs bowled to try and wrestle the initiative back in his team's favour. In doing so, he became the second-fastest player to reach 4,000 runs and 150 wickets in Test cricket.
England battle to remove tourists
Having won the toss and elected to bat under cloudy skies on day one, the English bowlers would have bemoaned their luck as they were tasked with trying to remove the nine remaining West Indian wickets under clear blue skies.
Brathwaite and Shai Hope (16) made the most of the favourable early conditions to move their partnership to 59, not allowing the fresh England attack to gain any early impetus before the latter edged Dom Bess (2-51) to Stokes at slip with the score at 102.
Shamarh Brooks, playing only his third Test, looked good value for his 39, playing some eloquent drives before nicking behind off James Anderson (3-62), whilst Roston Chase dug in for a gritty 47 off 142 balls before falling lbw to the same bowler.
Anderson used all of the experience gathered in his 151 Tests to date, combining a disciplined line with the odd short ball to try and tie down the batsmen on a pitch that was doing little to support his renowned swing bowling. Bess, too, was tidy with the ball, showing good control, flight and guile to challenge both edges of the bat.
Dowrich was the man to shepherd the tail, his stroke play allowing the Windies to move firstly past 200 and then 300 as he struck eight fours in his 115-ball innings.
Broad's absence magnified
Having spoken at being "angry, frustrated and gutted" about his exclusion from the XI for this match, Stuart Broad's non-selection in favour of the addition of pace duo Jofra Archer and Mark Wood looked particularly foolish given the duos respective performances.
Combined figures of 1-135 from 44 overs does little to support the argument for either of the pair, especially when considering Broad's outstanding record both over the past two years and indeed throughout his career as a whole.
Some may argue - and with very valid reason - that Broad is not getting any younger, and the inclusions of Archer and Wood are to try and give the pair as much game time ahead of next year's Ashes series as possible, where the focus is very much on pace and bounce.
However, there can be no argument for either of their performances today, the solitary wicket between them being Wood's dismissal of number 11 Shannon Gabriel with a fast, direct yorker.
Openers see out the late, tricky period
It is fair to say that nobody would have envied England openers Rory Burns (10*) and Dominic Sibley (5*) when they were striding out to face a nothing-to-gain last ten overs of the day.
The relatively inexperienced pair rode their luck somewhat with plays and misses aplenty, tested by some terrific West Indian bowling from Gabriel, Kemar Roach and Jason Holder.
Knowing that their first target is to wipe out the deficit they are currently facing, they will hope to provide a solid footing for their side to build off tomorrow morning to allow them to try and set a challenging total.
Both teams will know that chasing in the last innings will not be easy; heading into the penultimate day, the game is set up tantalisingly.