Marlon Samuels' salute to Ben Stokes after the dismissal of the England all-rounder has been defended as 'banter' by West Indies bowling coach Curtly Ambrose.

Samuels and Stokes have been at loggerheads throughout the match, with the Durham man warned over his conduct by umpire Steve Davis during day one of the second test at St Georges.

James Anderson was seen to goad the West Indies first innings centurion when taking his wicket on day two and when Stokes holed out for just eight right before the close on day three, Samuels made an immediate and telling response.

The incident threatened to overshadow a day which saw England take a firm grip of the match through Joe Root's sixth Test century which gives the tourists a 74-run lead with four second innings wickets in hand.

And despite Stokes reacting angrily to the patronising send-off, Ambrose has defended Samuels' action as "friendly".

"There's nothing wrong with a little bantering," he said. "This is international cricket. As long as it doesn't go over the top, I'm fine with it," he said.

"I think it's more friendly than anything else. He gave a salute, is that a sign of respect? I don't know but I'm hoping so.

"That's something that we don't really preach. We always make sure that we tell the guys to keep it clean, and keep it within a certain range, and don't go over the top.

"International cricket is hard, and they must find ways to relax themselves, and smiling is one of those things. As much as we're working hard and want to win, you must have some fun doing it. You've got to enjoy what you are doing."