Marlon Samuels averts West Indies collapse after England takes early wickets in 2nd test

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada _ Marlon Samuels brought up an unbeaten 94 in a bid to rebuild the West Indies first innings after an early collapse Tuesday as England ended a rain-shortened opening day of the second test in a strong position with the hosts at 188-5.

Samuels, who came to the wicket shortly before lunch at the unusual dismissal of left-handed opener Devon Smith for 15, benefited from England captain Alistair Cook’s missed chance at first slip off Chris Jordan when on 22 to dominate the scoring in the final session and approach his seventh test century.

Samuels was batting with captain Denesh Ramdin (6 not out) in an unbroken, 59-run sixth-wicket stand.

Cook’s decision to bowl first on winning the toss was influenced by humid, overcast conditions likely to favour his four fast bowlers. The Barbados-born Jordan finished with two for 40 off 16 overs, while Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes claimed a wicket each.

Anderson, who became England’s leading wicket-taker in the drawn first test in Jamaica, struck with his seventh delivery, a sharp in swinger that bowled Kraigg Brathwaite for 1.

Jordan removed Smith (15), the first Grenadian to play in the National Stadium’s three tests, before lunch. Television replays showed the ball missed Smith’s bat, but he did not ask for umpire Steve Davis to review his verdict.

In the second session, Broad accounted for left-hander Daren Bravo for 35 to a first-slip catch off a careless stroke and Stokes had the usually reliable 40-year-old Shivnarine Chanderpaul, playing his 163rd Test, caught low down at point by Moeen Ali for 1.

When Jordan won a review on Davis’ original not out lbw decision against first-innings century-maker Jermaine Blackwood, who made 26, the West Indies were tottering at 129-5.

Samuels, who hit 13 fours off his 186 balls, took control in the remaining play before Davis and fellow umpire Bruce Oxenford called play because of fading light.

Morning rain showers delayed the start until 15 minutes before the appointed lunch. Three-quarters of an hour earlier, fielders and batsmen were in place for the first ball when further showers swept in from the eastern hills to push back lunch.

England omitted offspinner James Tredwell from their XI in the drawn first test in favour of allrounder Ali, who joined the squad from England on Saturday after recovering from a shoulder strain sustained in the recent World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The West Indies brought in legspinner Davendra Bishoo for his first test since 2009 for left-arm spinner Sulieman Bann. The other change was enforced by a shoulder strain to pacman Jerome Taylor, the most threatening bowler in the first test with figures of 3-90 and 2-42. Big fast bowler Shannon Gabriel took his place.

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