West Indies v England: Marlon Samuels blast frustrates tourists

By Sam SheringhamBBC Sport
England walk off the field after the end of play
England are looking for their first away Test win wince 2012
Second Test, day one, St George's, Grenada
West Indies 188-5: Samuels 94*, Jordan 2-40

England were frustrated by a counter-attacking unbeaten 94 by Marlon Samuels on a scrappy opening day of the second Test in Grenada.

After rain delayed the start of play, James Anderson bowled Kraigg Brathwaite in the third over.

And England's seamers turned the screw on a lifeless pitch to reduce their hosts to 129-5.

But Samuels dug deep to reach fifty before firing a flurry of boundaries to take the Windies to 188-5.

On the type of pitch that does Test cricket no favours as it battles for relevance in a Twenty20-dominated landscape, neither team will be entirely satisfied with their efforts.

England, seeking a first Test win away from home since December 2012, dropped three catches and failed to fully exploit helpful overhead conditions, while the Windies' batting lacked any impetus until Samuels opened his shoulders in the final session.

Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott
"I feel a little disappointed for the spectators, the players and Test match cricket because a lot of people came very far to watch a day where it was hard to score runs. It was hard for the batsman and bowlers to get on top. Crowds are going down and you are wanting people to watch Test cricket but I feel the groundsman here has ruined the pitch."

In truth, England were probably grateful for the fading light that brought play to a premature end at a point when Samuels was motoring towards three figures.

And captain Alastair Cook, who dropped Samuels at slip on 32, will be hoping a new day sees England's seamers rediscover their dominance of the first half of day one.

"The good thing is that we didn't let them get away too far," Chris Jordan, who took 2-40, told BBC Sport. "We bowled reasonably well in patches but we maybe could have made the batsmen play a little bit more with the ball swinging as it did. All in all, a reasonable day."

Samuels, meanwhile, said he was spurred on by goading from England bowler Ben Stokes.

"He keeps talking to me but it keeps me motivated and keeps me batting," said Samuels.

Anderson, fresh from surpassing Sir Ian Botham as England's leading wicket-taker, took just seven balls to notch up victim number 385.

After an over of outswingers, he sent down an inswinger that looped violently from left to right, through Brathwaite's defences and cannoned into his leg stump.

Landmark Test
This match is the 150th Test between England & West Indies
It is the second most played fixture in Test cricket after England v Australia (336 Tests)
West Indies have won 53 and England 45, with 51 draws

Devon Smith's dismissal for 15 was nothing short of baffling. Wafting outside off stump at Jordan, he was given out caught behind only for replays to show a clear gap between bat and ball. Smith seemed to forget he had the option to review as he trudged off shaking his head.

Darren Bravo played with an elegance reminiscent of his cousin and fellow left-hander Brian Lara. But on reaching 35, he threw his wicket away with a careless swing at Stuart Broad that carried through to Jos Buttler.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul, needing 79 runs to surpass Lara as the Windies' leading Test run-scorer, managed only one before pushing Stokes - who moments earlier had required treatment for a hip problem suffered taking a tumble in the field - straight to Moeen Ali at point.

And when Jordan had Antigua centurion Jermaine Blackwood lbw via a successful review, England were well on top.

Samuels, however, turned the tide. After labouring for 142 balls to reach his fifty, he needed only 44 further deliveries to move within one blow of a century.

His partnership of 59 with Denesh Ramdin, in which the Windies captain contributed just six, left the contest in the balance at stumps.

"If we group enough balls, keep being aggressive, those wickets will come," added Jordan. "We have to be patient and hopefully we can get our rewards."