By CricketCountry Staff
Nottingham: May 26, 2012
Marlon Samuels's Test ton helped the West Indies to respectability on the first day of the second Test against England at Trent Bridge 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.
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 before his ban.
"We wanted to get through that tough period and take it to the England bowlers," said Samuels, who had been playing in the Indian Premier League prior to this series. "It's a wonderful feeling."
Reflecting on his ban, the 31-year-old added: "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 of harsh words from several Windies greats, Samuels said he'd been boosted by Holding and all-time great batsman 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.
"It probably wasn't a 130 for six pitch or whatever we had them earlier on but I thought the two batters at the end battled really hard to see them through the day."
West Indies' top order had failed repeatedly during a run of just two wins in 31 Tests coming into this game.
And their struggles continued Friday as Anderson and Stuart Broad, who took a Test-best seven for 72 in England's five-wicket win at Lord's that gave the hosts a 1-0 lead in this three-match series, shared four wickets before lunch.
Opener Adrian Barath was out for nought when he edged Broad, on his Nottinghamshire home ground, and third slip Anderson held a brilliant, left-handed, head-high catch.
New batsman Kirk Edwards then fell for seven when Anderson's superb off-cutter beat his defensive shot.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul entered at 42 for three with another huge repair job on his hands.
The world's number one batsmen, in for more than 10 hours in total at Lord's, was looking set for another marathon knock when off-spinner Graeme Swann had him lbw for the second time in as many innings.
Rauf rejected England's appeal but left-hander Chanderpaul was given out for 46 on review.
Sammy didn't middle an inside-out drive off Swann but the ball still sailed over long-off for six.
Samuels went to 98 with a cover-driven four off Bresnan before a leg-glanced boundary off Anderson saw him to a 219-ball hundred with 14 fours.
Anderson and Broad took two for 59 off 20, while Bresnan's return with figures one 83 in 21 was expensive in comparison. (AFP)
Brief Scores: West Indies 304 for 6 (Marlon Samuels 107*, Darren Sammy 88*, Shivnarine Chanderpaul 46; James Anderson 2 for 58, Stuart Broad 2 for 59) vs England