NOTTINGHAM: Marlon Samuels’s unbeaten hundred and a Test-best score from West Indies captain Darren Sammy rescued the tourists from a dire position on the first day of the second Test against England at Trent Bridge here on Friday.
West Indies, who had collapsed to 63 for four when Samuels came in, were 304 for six at stumps.
Samuels was 107 not out and Sammy, whose place in the team has been called into question by West Indies great Michael Holding, was 88 not out at stumps, having surpassed his previous Test best of 61 against Australia at Roseau last month and justified his decision to bat first after winning the toss.
The pair, who came together at 136 for six, have so far added an unbroken 168 for the seventh wicket. This was only Samuels’s third Test hundred and first since he completed a two-year ban from 2008 to 2010 for talking to an Indian bookmaker prior to a one-day international in Nagpur in 2007.
He walked out with the West Indies in a desperate position and they were still in trouble at 136 for six when he was joined by Sammy. But, against an older ball and on a true pitch, the pair rebuilt the innings with sound and stylish shotmaking.
And when England took the new ball as soon as they could, with West Indies 260 for six off 80 overs, the duo saw out the day’s final 10 overs. Earlier, Samuels would have been dismissed for one after being given out lbw to Tim Bresnan but he successfully reviewed umpire Asad Rauf’s decision. And by the close he had his Test-best score, surpassing the 105 he made against South Africa in Durban in January 2008.
“We wanted to get through that tough period and take it to the England bowlers,” said Samuels, who had been playing in the IPL prior to this series. “It’s a wonderful feeling.”
Reflecting on his ban, he said, “Maturity comes over the years. I’ve been through a lot and I just put everything behind me.”
And while Sammy may have been on the receiving end from several Windies greats, Samuels said he’d been boosted by Holding and Vivian Richards.
“I always get encouragement from Mr Michael Holding and this morning Sir Viv said I could make a double (hundred) here.”
Richards would know — he made 232 in the Trent Bridge Test of 1976. James Anderson, who led England’s attack with two for 58 off 24 overs, said it had been hard going for the bowlers on a good pitch.