Samuels helps keep England at bay
Marlon Samuels led the way once again as West Indies prevented England’s seamers from fully capitalising on Andrew Strauss’ decision to bowl first in the third and final Investec Test at Edgbaston.
Following the loss of the opening two days to rain, Strauss unsurprisingly opted to field this morning, but Kieran Powell was the only batsman to depart prior to lunch - caught at slip off Tim Bresnan for 24 - as the tourists battled to 85 for one.
England enjoyed more success in the afternoon session as the hugely impressive Graham Onions struck twice in his first Test outing since January 2010 either side of a wicket for Steven Finn and a second for Bresnan.
Yet Samuels, fresh from striking 310 runs in the first two Tests, was scarcely troubled as he unfurled an array of elegant drives either side of tea.
Denesh Ramdin, who proved strong through the leg side en route to 60 not out, offered able support in a sixth-wicket stand of 56 before Samuels fell lbw to Bresnan for 76 with the new ball in sight.
Visiting skipper Darren Sammy and Sunil Narine also departed prior to the close, to Finn and Onions respectively, but Ramdin held firm as the tourists reached 280 for eight.
The Windies team showed four changes in all – Assad Fudadin, Narsingh Deonarine, Narine and Tino Best the men to come in – while England opted to leave out Stuart Broad, thereby handing Onions and Finn an opportunity to impress.
The recalled duo ended day one with respective figures of 3-56 and 2-65, while fellow paceman Bresnan returned 3-74.
England are unlikely to be satisfied with their performance in the field, however. Opener Adrian Barath was dropped twice by Ian Bell en route to 41, while Sammy also received a life when Strauss shelled a simple catch at first slip.
Live Text Commentary
6:49pm – STUMPS – WI 280/8; Ramdin 60, Rampaul 2 - Ramdin and Ravi Rampaul survive the final six balls and that concludes a relatively even day. West Indies may be slightly happier than their hosts after being reduced to 152 for five in the afternoon session.
6:45pm - Ramdin benefits from another edge through the slip cordon for four. One over remaining tonight and Bresnan will bowl it.
6:39pm - FIFTY! Ramdin (97b 6x4 0x6) - A mis-field from Jonny Bairstow at point enables Ramdin to bring up his half-century with a single. These have been important runs from the stumper, who struggled with the bat in the first two Tests.
6:32pm - WICKET! Narine b Onions 11; WI 267/8 - Onions will not be denied any longer and bowls Narine via an inside edge to claim a richly deserved third wicket.
6:27pm - To be honest, I am not sure how Narine is still there. Onions has just had the tailender in all sorts of trouble, but the Windies remain seven down.
6:20pm - Narine shows he is perfectly capable with the bat by caressing Finn to the point boundary. A subsequent play-and-miss against Bresnan is somewhat less impressive, however.
6:14pm - Ramdin is making the most of his earlier luck. Back-to-back fours through the leg side off Bresnan take the wicketkeeper-batsman on to 43.
6:06pm – WICKET! Sammy c Strauss b Finn 16; WI 241/7 - But not anymore! Finn finds Sammy’s edge once again and this time the skipper makes no mistake. Here comes Sunil Narine, on debut.
6:03pm - Now it is Ramdin’s turn to enjoy some good fortune. Facing Bresnan, he gets a bottom edge for four when looking to leave and then slices one through the gap between second slip and gully. This partnership, now worth 33, is beginning to cause England frustration.
6pm - DROPPED CATCH! Sammy, on 16, is given a life. He nicks a full ball from Finn but Strauss is unable to hold on at first slip. Not the first chance that has gone down today. A reminder that we can go on until 7pm tonight, although, with only 11 overs remaining, I do not think that will be necessary.
5:50pm - Following the final drinks break of the day, Sammy unfurls a square-drive for four off Onions. Ramdin then finds the boundary in more streaky fashion as an edge from Finn flies over the slips.
5:35pm - Onions, who - for my money - has been the pick of England’s attack today, replaces Bresnan and Sammy gets off the mark with a clip into the leg side for two.
5:26pm - Windies skipper Darren Sammy survives the remainder of Bresnan’s over and it is now time for the new ball. Finn, who has clipped the stumps at the non-striker's end in his delivery stride at least 15 times today, gets first use of the fresh cherry.
5:20pm – WICKET! Samuels lbw Bresnan 76; WI 208/5 - My oh my, that is a HUGE wicket for England. With the new ball just one over away, Bresnan gets one to nip back into Samuels and the right-hander is adjudged lbw propping forward. His review proves in vain and that marks the end of a splendid innings.
5:17pm - Bresnan is back on in place of Swann. A pulled two from Ramdin takes the value of this sixth-wicket stand beyond 50 before Samuels drives Trott through the gap between cover and mid-off.
5:08pm - It has gone a little flat out there at the moment as we await the new ball. In a bid to alleviate any yawning, Denesh Ramdin clubs Swann over midwicket for four. West Indies now 199 for five from 76 overs.
4:51pm - With the aforementioned new ball clearly in mind, Andrew Strauss gives Finn a rest and calls upon the medium-pace of Jonathan Trott, who is, of course, playing on his home ground. In further exciting news, a selection of mini ice-cream tubs are being handed out in the press box. Would be rude of me to refuse...
4:48pm - Samuels prospers off the back foot, guiding Finn wide of gully for his eighth four. Apart from a brief spell of trouble at the hands of Graham Onions prior to tea, the 31-year-old has looked in magnificent form. With 11 overs to go until the new ball is available, Graeme Swann replaces Bresnan and Samuels collects another four through, you've guessed it, the covers.
4:38pm - A maiden from Pontefract’s finest gets the evening session under way. Steven Finn takes the ball from the Pavilion End and is thumped through the covers by Samuels, whose scores for the series prior to this match read 31, 86, 117, 76 not out.
4:31pm - As Tim Bresnan resumes with the ball, I should point out that I have spotted England Under-19 batsman Daniel Bell-Drummond at Edgbaston today. The talented Kent youngster is working on his game with Graham Gooch.
4:29pm - Almost ready for the restart here. Marlon Samuels scored 50 of West Indies’ 79 runs in the afternoon and appears key to any hopes the tourists have of posting a score in excess of 300.
4:10PM - TEA - WI 164/5; Samuels 50, Ramdin 1 - A maiden from Onions ends the session and England will be feeling much happier than they did at lunch.
4:05pm – FIFTY! Samuels (76b 6x4 1x6) - Swann has a long-on in place for Samuels, but the batsman seems unconcerned as he helps himself to a huge six. The next ball is crunched through the covers for four to take Samuels to 50. He celebrates by somewhat comically pointing his bat in the direction of Onions, with whom he has had a running battle this afternoon.
3:59pm - WICKET! Deonarine c Strauss b Onions 7; WI 152/5 - A simple one this. The hugely impressive Onions angles one across Deonarine and a thick edge is pouched by Andrew Strauss at first slip.
3:56pm - Deonarine is not looking particularly comfortable against Swann, but manages a single to bring up the Windies’ 150.
3:48pm - A rare lapse from Samuels as he edges Onions short of Andrew Strauss at first slip. The Durham seamer forces a play-and-miss in his next over and is bowling superbly, maintaining an excellent line on and around off stump.
3:39pm - Deonarine shows that it is not just Samuels who can play glorious shots off the front foot. The returning Onions errs on the full side and is driven handsomely down the ground for four. Sweet timing.
3:33pm - The sun is shining rather brightly now and there is high farce in the Eric Hollies Stand, where several 'policemen' (remember, it is fancy dress day) are chasing a 'criminal' around, to the apparent delight of the spectators around them.
3:27pm - Narsingh Deonarine is the new man at the crease. With Samuels in great touch, illustrated by another couple of fluent drives through the off side, it is vital the left-hander hangs around to offer support to his senior partner.
3:17pm - WICKET! Fudadin c Bell b Bresnan 28; WI 128/4 - Samuels should find it easier to surpass Fudadin's score now. The left-hander gets into all sorts of trouble trying to fend off a short ball from Bresnan and the ball loops up to provide Bell with the dolly of all dollies at third slip. If he had dropped that one, I think he may have just walked off the field!
3:16pm - Fudadin earns his first run in more than half an hour with a long single off Swann to the right of mid-off. Samuels is likely to overtake his partner very soon; another classy drive, played with an open face, brings him a third four.
3:12pm - Samuels’ driving throughout this summer has been of the highest order. After failing to beat Bell with a sweet strike into the covers, the Jamaican presents the full face of the bat to gain four more, despite Bresnan getting a hand to the ball in his follow-through.
3:08pm - That is lovely from Samuels, who gives himself room and steers Swann away off the back foot to the cover rope. A string of defensive shots follow, with both batsmen seemingly aware of the need to stay put.
2:56pm - There is an extended afternoon session today as we look to make up a small percentage of the 180 overs lost across days one and two. With tea set to be taken at 4:10pm, it is now time for drinks. West Indies are 110 for three, having struggled since the interval.
2:50pm - There is plenty of pace in this pitch, but, for the time being at least, the scoring rate is pedestrian as Samuels looks to play himself in. Fudadin is also taking few chances.
2:42pm - Tim Bresnan is back on in place of Finn, who conceded just eight runs in his latest six-over stint, which also featured the wicket of Bravo. West Indies are in need of a partnership.
2:35pm - As has often been the case in this series, West Indies have failed to build upon early promise. Yet debutant Fudadin looks comfortable in pulling Graeme Swann through midwicket after being joined by the in-form Marlon Samuels.
2:26pm - WICKET! Bravo c and b Finn 6; WI 99/3 - Finn finally gets a deserved breakthrough. The paceman has beat the edge numerous times yet the dismissal comes in surprising circumstances as Bravo offers up a simple return catch.
2:15pm - Finn is causing Fudadin a few problems outside off stump. Darren Bravo, meanwhile, has made a quiet start to his innings, although he has just collected his first four via a leg glance off Onions.
2:07pm - West Indies are going nowhere at the moment - just two runs have been added since Barath departed.
1:55pm – WICKET! Barath lbw Onions 41; WI 90/2 - Fudadin drives Finn square of the wicket for his third four, but Barath departs in the next over. Deserved reward for Onions, who pins the opener in front of leg stump with a full delivery. A review proved unsuccessful for the tourists and Bell can breathe a sigh of relief.
1:48pm – DROPPED CATCH - I am afraid Ian Bell is having one of those days. Adrian Barath is squared up by Steven Finn’s first ball after lunch, but Bell puts down another simple catch at third slip. I think that was easier than the chance that went begging in the morning session.
1:45pm - A ropey old start from Assad Fudadin after the interval. He wafts carelessly at one he could easily have left alone outside off stump. Graham Onions then beats the bat again with a beautiful length delivery that moved away.
1:42pm - The Windies have had a number of good sessions during this series, but their problem has been consistency. Can they build on a solid platform here?
1:40pm - Play is about to resume at Edgbaston. I can only hope the England fielders have not taken on as much food as my good self during the interval.
1pm - LUNCH - WI 85/1; Barath 40, Fudadin 15 - I was about to tell you that Barath was looking increasingly comfortable, only for him to then edge a loose drive wide of the slips. That's lunch, anyway, and it has most certainly been West Indies' morning.
12:50pm - Fudadin's second four arrives in more fortuitous circumstances than his first, courtesy of a thick outside edge down to third man off the returning Bresnan.
12:40pm - Good grief, WE NOW HAVE SUNSHINE AT EDGBASTON!
12:38pm - A previously becalmed Barath responds by thrashing Swann over mid-on for six.
12:33pm - Fudadin collects his first boundary in Test cricket with a neat drive through the covers off Finn. England would love to grab another wicket prior to lunch and the off-spin of Swann is about to be introduced.
12:22pm - Swann only just held on to that catch, but all that matters is the fact he did. Assad Fudadin is the new man in, on Test debut, and he gets off the mark with a nudge into the leg side for two.
12:19pm – WICKET! Powell c Swann b Bresnan 24; WI 49/1 - Powell greets the return of Bresnan with a classy straight-driven four. Two balls later, however, the opener is sent back to the pavilion when an outside edge is taken by Graeme Swann at second slip.
12:16pm - After being discomforted by a couple of deliveries from Finn, Barath’s eyes light up as the paceman over-pitches. The ball is duly driven past mid-off for the fourth four of the morning.
12:07pm - Finn almost makes the breakthrough in the first over after lunch as Barath attempts a flat-footed drive and succeeds only in getting an inside-edge past the stumps for four.
12pm - Barath sees out another over and that will be drinks. An admirable effort from the tourists' openers, who have taken the score to 31 without loss in the first hour.
11:57am - Powell plays and misses outside off stump against Finn on three successive occasions. The opener was unable to connect with a wild flashing stroke before being beaten by two fine deliveries.
11:51am - Another lbw appeal from the accurate Onions, but this time Powell gets a big inside edge and there is no review. Slow progress from West Indies, who are now 28 without loss, but they will be pleased not to have lost a wicket as we approach the end of the first hour.
11:42am - REVIEW - Another close call for Onions, who has been the pick of the bowlers thus far. Umpire Tony Hill delivers a not-out verdict after Barath is struck in front looking to leave. England call for a review, but the initial decision is upheld as replays show the ball would have merely clipped the bails.
11:38am - Steven Finn replaces Onions and begins with a threatening maiden, the fourth in succession. Turns out it is just a change of ends for Onions, who replaces Bresnan at the City End.
11:31am - As I type that, Bresnan bangs one in halfway down...
11:30am - Despite all of the rain in recent days, the surface appears firm and true, and there has been good carry for Onions and Bresnan this morning. Both bowlers are looking to pitch the ball up on a regular basis.
11:21am - DROPPED CATCH - Onions is starting to settle into his stride now and should have been rewarded with a wicket. Barath edges straight to third slip, but Ian Bell is unable to take a relatively straightforward chance.
11:17am – Bresnan believes he has Powell caught behind, but England’s fielders show little interest in the appeal. The next delivery beats the inside edge and an eventful over ends with West Indies on 14 without loss.
11:15am - Kieran Powell punches Onions downs the ground for three, but is then fortunate to survive when aiming a loose drive at Bresnan. The left-hander connects with the next ball and finds the mid-off boundary.
11:06am - Graham Onions gains some early movement through the air in the opening over. Tim Bresnan shares new-ball duties and sees his first ball driven powerfully through the covers by Adrian Barath.
10:57am - The bell has gone and the teams are on their way out. It has taken some time but a cricket match is about to take place! We have 98 overs scheduled for today and play can go on until 7pm.
10:52am - With so much time lost, England will be eager to make a few early breakthroughs this morning. There will surely be assistance for the seamers, which will make it a big test for a Windies' batting line-up missing its most reliable performer in Chanderpaul.
10:49am - As we prepare to get under way here, it is worth mentioning the efforts of the Warwickshire groundstaff once again. More than 80mm of rain has fallen here in the last 60 hours and Gary Barwell and his team have not been home since the early hours of Thursday morning.
10:42am - Today will be a particularly special day for Onions, who has fought hard to get back to his best following a serious back injury. The Durham seamer is certainly in fine form at present, having taken 11 wickets in his previous LV= County Championship outing.
10:33am - England have won the toss and will bowl first. The hosts have left out Stuart Broad, so both Finn and Onions earn recalls. West Indies make four changes to their line-up. Chanderpaul has failed to recover from a side strain and is replaced by Narsingh Deonarine. Assad Fudadin replaces the out-of-form Kirk Edwards and will make his Test debut along with mystery spinner Sunil Narine, who has ousted Shane Shillingford. Tino Best also returns, with Kemar Roach having returned home due to injury.
10:18am - The toss will be taking place shortly. In the meantime, it is great to see so many people - players, coaches and broadcasters - out on the field. Makes a pleasant change from blotter machines and covers.
10:12am - So, given that this is effectively the opening day (some 48 hours later than scheduled!), there are a few questions to be answered. Will Steven Finn or Graham Onions - maybe both - be selected by England? Will Shivnarine Chanderpaul be fit to take his place in the tourists' line-up? And will I be able to cope with the demands of producing live updates after two days of occasional weather reports?
10:05am - That's right, the showers have ceased and, following a herculean effort from the groundstaff overnight, it looks as though we should be starting on time at 11am.
10am - The warmest of welcomes from Edgbaston. After two hugely frustrating days of rain, rain and more rain, we are finally going to get some cricket!!