Samuels, Ramdin prop up WI
BIRMINGHAM, England – Marlon Samuels stroked his third half-century in as many innings and Denesh Ramdin hit his first in three years to break a prolonged slump, as West Indies rode their luck in the third and final Test on Saturday here.
Samuels scored a high-class 76 and Ramdin was unbeaten on 60, as the Windies, sent in to bat in difficult conditions, reached 280 for eight in their first innings at the close on the scheduled third day at Edgbaston.
A few of the visitors’ other batsmen got starts without carrying on, as Graham Onions with three wickets for 56 runs from 24 overs and Tim Bresnan with three for 74 from 26 overs led England’s new-look fast bowling attack.
Opener Adrian Barath made 41, Test newcomer Assad Fudadin got 28 and Kieran Powell added 24, all shaping up well before perishing.
West Indies coasted to 90 for one after lunch on the first day of action after heavy rain forced the abandonment of the first two days without a ball bowled.
But the Windies lost four wickets for 62 runs to stumble to 152 for five before they were once again bailed out by the lower order.
Samuels and Ramdin put on an invaluable 56 for the sixth wicket before West Indies captain Darren Sammy with 16 added a further 33 for the seventh wicket with Ramdin.
Debutant Sunil Narine made 11, ensuring the visitors’ tail wagged, posting 26 with Ramdin for the eighth wicket and Ravi Rampaul sensibly saw out the last 17 minutes.
Samuels struck 10 fours and a six off 114 balls in just over 2 ½ hours at the crease and Ramdin also lasted a similar amount of time, facing 108 balls and counting seven fours.
After rainy skies finally gave way to more agreeable weather, Barath and Powell gave West Indies an enterprising start of 49.
The right-handed Barath stroked four fours and a six in an innings that required 106 balls and 135 minutes, while Powell, a left-hander, collected two fours from 43 balls in 79 minutes at the crease.
Barath enjoyed two huge slices of luck when he was twice dropped by Ian Bell at third slip – on four off Onions in the fifth over of the morning at 14 without loss, and on 40 off Steven Finn in the second over after lunch with the score on 85 for one.
Powell was not so fortunate however, becoming the only casualty of the morning session, when he edged Bresnan to Graeme Swann at second slip 40 minutes before lunch.
Barath and Fudadin added 41 for the second wicket, a partnership that saw West Indies to the interval at 85 for one before it all fell apart.
On resumption, Barath added just one before he was lbw to Onions in the third over after the break with a subsequent review showing the delivery barely clipping leg-stump to leave the Windies 90 for two.
With just nine runs added, Darren Bravo tapped an easy return catch back to Finn. He made six.
Samuels and Fudadin, one of four changes to the team from the last Test, then put on 29 for the fourth wicket before they were separated.
Left-hander Fudadin batted solidly, stroking four fours off 110 balls in 138 minutes before parrying a short ball from Bresnan to third slip, where Bell took the lob comfortably, leaving the Caribbean side 128 for four.
Narsingh Deonarine, also playing his first match of the series, spent 42 minutes over seven, but then edged Onions to captain Andrew Strauss at first slip 11 minutes before tea, sinking West Indies to 152 for five.
Samuels however, displayed the same composure and maturity that brought him a hundred and an unbeaten half-century in the previous Test at Trent Bridge, holding the innings together with another classy knock.
He punched off-spinner Swann to the cover boundary off the back-foot to get going and then unfurled an array of sweetly-timed off-side drives to move into high gear.
He reached his half-century in style in the penultimate over before tea, launching Swann over long-on for six and following up with another exquisite cover-driven boundary.
After the break, Samuels appeared in superb touch until he missed one from Bresnan – in the second over of a new spell – and was lbw at 208 for six.
Ramdin battled through the early stages of his innings before releasing the shackles by lifting Swann over the top for four.
He too rode his luck with a several streaky shots for boundaries through the slip cordon before bringing up his landmark about 10 minutes before the close.
Sammy, dropped on 16 by Strauss at first slip off Finn, departed an over later via the same combination, giving the lanky fast bowler his second wicket for 65 runs from 22 overs, and Narine made merry before he was bowled playing on to Onions late in the evening.
West Indies trail 0-2 in the three-match series, following defeats in the first two Tests at Lord’s and Trent Bridge.
WEST INDIES 1st Innings
A. Barath lbw b Onions 41
K. Powell c Swann b Bresnan 24
A. Fudadin c Bell b Bresnan 28
D.M. Bravo c and b Finn 6
M. Samuels lbw b Bresnan 76
N. Deonarine c Strauss b Onions 7
+D. Ramdin not out 60
*D. Sammy c Strauss b Finn 16
S. Narine b Onions 11
R. Rampaul not out 2
Extras (b2, lb6, w1) 9
TOTAL (8 wkts) 280
Fall of wickets: 1-49 (Powell), 2-90 (Barath), 3-99 (Bravo), 4-128 (Fudadin), 5-152 (Deonarine), 6-208 (Samuels), 7-241 (Sammy), 8-267 (Narine)
Bowling: Onions 24-7-56-3; Bresnan 26-8-74-3; Finn 22-6-65-2 (w1); Swann 21-5-61-0; Trott 5-1-16-0
ENGLAND: *A. Strauss, A. Cook, J. Trott, K. Pietersen, I. Bell, J. Bairstow, M. Prior, T. Bresnan, G. Swann, S. Finn, G. Onions
Umpires: K. Dharmasena (Sri Lanka), T. Hill (New Zealand)
TV umpire: Aleem Dar (Pakistan)
Match referee: R. Mahanama (Sri Lanka)
Reserve umpire: D. Millns (England)