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It was a familiar tale for the West Indies as they slid to a poor 136-6 on the opening day of the second test at Nottingham before an incredible recovery led by the ultra-cool Marlon Samuels, who posted an unbeaten century, and Windies skipper Darren Sammy, who made his highest test score, took the visitors through to an extremely respectable 304-6 at the close of play. As far as days of test match cricket go, day 1 at Nottingham had just about everything from exceptional bowling and fielding to gorgeous drives and catches going down and it ended as it should have with honours very much even.
A belter of a pitch welcomed the West Indies to Nottingham as the underdogs from the Caribbean attempted to reverse their 1-0 start to the 3-match Test series at Lord's. The visitors made a couple of expected edits to their line-up with Ravi Rampaul coming in for Fidel Edwards while off-spinner Shane Shillingford, who really should have played in the last game, replaced the injured Shannon Gabriel. There were no changes to England's winning combination with Tim Bresnan continuing to keep the unfortunate Steven Finn out of the England line-up.
The flip of the coin went West Indies' way and captain Darren Sammy opted to bat first. The first hour was always going to be crucial once again and if Adrian Barath and Kieran Powell could keep the England pacers at bay there were plenty of runs to be made on this pitch.
That was not to be the case though as Stuart Broad, who had taken a career best 7-72 in the first innings at Lord's, was on the money right away. Unlucky to be denied a wicket with his third ball when an edge from Powell fell short of Andrew Strauss at first slip, Broad removed the other opener Barath, in his very next over, James Anderson taking an excellent reflex catch at third slip, having moved a lot closer to the bat. Barath fell for naught and the West Indies were in trouble early at 9/1. Anderson, meanwhile appeared to have brought his bad luck over from Lord's as a thick outside edge from no.3 Kirk Edwards raced between second and third slip on its way to the boundary.
Anderson's luck took a turn for the better as he struck twice before drinks on the opening morning to remove Edwards for 7 and then Darren Bravo for 3. The right-handed Edwards was bowled by an inswinger before the decision to go around the wicket to the left-handed Bravo paid instant dividends as the youngster flashed at a wide delivery, but succeeded only in edging it through to Graeme Swann at second slip. The West Indies were 46/3 at the end of 15 overs and in a world of trouble.
Also having a woeful time was Tim Bresnan at third slip, as he mucked up another chance off Anderson, this time reacting too late to a genuine edge from West Indies' first test hero, Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Anderson's return to third slip when he was not bowling (obviously) was good news for Stuart Broad, who found the edge of Powell's bat to dismiss the opener for a decent 33.
The West Indies finally had a bit of luck go their way as Umpire Asad Rauf's terrible decision to give Marlon Samuels out leg before was overturned on appeal, and Samuels and Chanderpaul saw their team through to lunch at 84/4.
Chanderpaul and Samuels continued the good work after lunch, adding another 41 runs to the team's total before the former fell to the guile of Graeme Swann trapped plumb in front for 46. It was another poor decision from Rauf, which this time was overturned in England's favour, showing the true value of DRS if used for the intended purpose rather than for every appeal that does not go in a side's favour.
A few overs later it was Tim Bresnan's turn to get amongst the wickets as the powerful bowler went through Denesh Ramdin's defence to remove the wicketkeeper-batsman for just 1.
While the wickets were falling around him, Marlon Samuels kept his end up, making his way to 41 by tea time, with his skipper Darren Sammy keeping him company on 11. The West Indies were once again in trouble though at 154/6.
The Windies made a good start after tea, adding 40 runs in 8 overs as Sammy and Samuels took advantage of the old ball on a placid pitch. The 7th wicket partnership was approaching dangerous proportions for the English as Sammy began to open his shoulders, while Samuels kept the runs flowing too. Heading into the final drinks break of the day, the West Indies had made their way to a respectable 224/6.
While England killed time in the wait for the second new ball, the partnership continued to blossom passing the 100 run mark in the process. Sammy brought up a crucial half-century off just 76 balls, his innings including 6 hits to the fence and one over it. At the end of 80 overs, the West Indies had made their way to 260/6, and England opted to take the new ball as soon as it became available.
An exceptional 83rd over from Anderson saw Sammy survive two edges that went through the slip cordon and a close leg before appeal that was turned down. The call from Aleem Dar was borderline, and had either team appealed the umpire's decision (whichever one he chose) would have been upheld.
Samuels brought up a well deserved century in the penultimate over of the day, taking 219 balls to get to the landmark. The very next ball, a second boundary in the over brought up the 300 for the West Indies.
The duo were able to see out the day, and had done exceptionally well to take their team past 300. Any runs from here on could be a bit of a bonus, and with the wicket already beginning to show some inconsistent bounce, batting fourth in this test match could be a handful.
England: A Strauss (c), A Cook, J Trott, K Pietersen, I Bell, J Bairstow, M Prior (wk), T Bresnan, S Broad, G Swann, J Anderson.
West Indies: A Barath, K Powell, K Edwards, D Bravo, S Chanderpaul, M Samuels, D Sammy (c), D Ramdin (wk), R Rampaul, K Roach, S Shillingford.
West Indies 1st Innings 304/6 (90 overs, 3.38rpo)
M Samuels 107* (225) J Anderson 2-58
D Sammy 88* (121) S Broad 2-59
Photograph Copyright: westindiescricket
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