NOTTINGHAM, England (CMC) – Marlon Samuels stroked a high class, unbeaten century while captain Darren Sammy was on the verge of another in a career-best innings, as West Indies flirted with disaster before staging a brilliant recovery to make a strong finish to the opening day of the second Test against England yesterday.
The right-handed Samuels carved out a superb 107 and Sammy chimed in with a matured, unbeaten 88 to propel West Indies to 304 for six on a sun-kissed day at Trent Bridge.
Such enterprise was but a fleeting thought when West Indies collapsed in a heap at 136 for six, 35 minutes before tea after they had earlier won the toss and chose to bat in excellent conditions.
However, not for the first time this series, West Indies salvaged what seemed a terminal situation as Samuels and Sammy put on a record, unbroken 168 for the seventh wicket as the Caribbean side dominated the final session.
Given out lbw for one at 64 for four off seamer Tim Bresnan half-hour before lunch, Samuels made the most of his reprieve through the DRS, collecting his third Test century and his first in nearly six years.
He struck 15 sweetly timed boundaries – mostly an array of sparkling drives – in an innings that required 225 balls and lasted seven minutes shy of five hours, and shared in two partnerships that repaired the Windies innings yet again.
The languid Jamaican added 62 for the fifth wicket with Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who fell just short of third successive half-century with 46, before partnering with Sammy in the precious century stand, the highest seventh-wicket partnership by any team at Trent Bridge.
Sammy, meanwhile, hammered 13 fours and one six in a typically robust knock, facing just 121 balls in 169 minutes at the crease.
The innings was only Sammy’s third half-century of his career and it surpassed his previous best of 61 in the third Test against Australia in Dominica last month.
West Indies were in trouble from as early as the fourth over of the morning when Adrian Barath was taken at third slip by Jimmy Anderson off seamer Stuart Broad without scoring at nine for one, attempting a forcing back foot stroke.
Vice-captain Kirk Edward’s wretched tour continued when he was bowled by fast bowler Anderson for seven at 26 for two and stylish stroke-maker Darren Bravo fell on the stroke of the first hour’s play for three when he drove loosely at Anderson to give Graeme Swann a regulation catch at second slip at 42 for three.
Opener Kieran Powell played positively, stroking seven fours in 33 off 49 balls before becoming the fourth wicket of the session when he flirted with a wide ball from Broad to give Anderson his second catch of the morning at third slip.
Samuels and Chanderpaul, as they did in the opening Lord’s Test, then stitched up the innings with a partnership that saw West Indies to lunch at 84 for four.
Chanderpaul, who faced 86 balls in 131 minutes at the crease, stroked nine fours in a breezy knock and seemed on course for another big score.
However, totally against the run of play, the veteran left-hander missed one from off-spinner Swann that pitched and straightened, to fall lbw an hour and 12 minutes after lunch with the Windies on 125 for five.
Denesh Ramdin lasted just nine deliveries before he was late on a defensive prod and bowled by Bresnan at 136 for six, with just over half-hour to go before tea.
Samuels and Sammy comfortably saw out a nervy half-hour to carry West Indies to the break at 154 for six, before blossoming in the final session.
Anderson (2-58) and Broad (2-59) were the best bowlers for the hosts.