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Windies eventually make most of conditions

Posted in England v West Indies 2012

Marlon Samuels

Marlon Samuels takes the plaudits after completing a hugely valuable century on the first day at Trent Bridge

From the moment people arrived at Trent Bridge yesterday, one thing was clear. It was a batting day.

Although the venue for this year’s second Investec Test has been a happy hunting ground for England’s bowlers in recent years, West Indies captain Darren Sammy would have had little hesitation in opting to bat first after winning the toss.

Cloudless skies and a flat pitch devoid of the tinges of green that had been evident 24 hours earlier offered the tourists’ inexperienced top order the perfect chance to set a solid platform.

Yet throughout the first two sessions, England added weight to a theory expressed by Mike Atherton in the Sky Sports commentary box, namely that the toss becomes less relevant when you possess a strong team.

James Anderson, a man who seems to have averaged something like 18 wickets a match in Tests at Trent Bridge, unsurprisingly led the way in the morning, ousting Kirk Edwards and Darren Bravo with the ball and accepting two sharp chances in the slips - the first an early contender for catch of the summer.

When Shivnarine Chanderpaul - the personification of reliability - and Denesh Ramdin fell in quick succession during the afternoon, West Indies were 136 for six and appeared set to register a hugely disappointing total.

To the undoubted surprise of many, however, there was to be a twist in the tale and, for the remainder of the day, batting appeared a more comfortable pursuit.

Sammy, who comfortably surpassed his previous highest Test score of 61 in reaching 88 not out, and Marlon Samuels, West Indies’ first centurion of the series, combined in an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 168 that heightened England’s frustration as the day wore on.

In truth, though, Andrew Strauss’ men need not be downhearted.

In reaching 304 for six at stumps, it can be argued that the Windies merely put themselves on course to register a par score on a surface that is unlikely to provide too many concerns for England’s batsmen.

Samuels and Sammy’s courageous fightback has put their team firmly in the match, but let’s not forget - it was a batting day.