Samuels turns things round as rotation leaves slips in a spin

Sublime innings and Bell's misses give West Indies a rare day in the sun

Edgbaston

England rotated so much yesterday that they nearly ended up on their backsides. If they managed to stay upright, it was still not a position from which they are likely to win the third Test.

West Indies made 280 for 8, more than England expected after winning the toss and inviting them to bat. Quite how many of these runs were down to the decision to field a second-string attack, albeit accomplished, is an open question.

Some might presume it was not many considering how well the replacements responded in their contest within a contest. Graham Onions, Steve Finn and Tim Bresnan, who was part of the first string this summer, were all on the money on a pitch that was not as sporting as it might have been after days spent under covers.

Others, more critical, might consider it was loads because of the consequences elsewhere of those decisions. England were not only replacing bowlers but also fielders.

In all probability the top-notchers would have had their hands full in containing the sublime Marlon Samuels, a batsman in the form of his life.

Samuels came on this tour as a largely unfulfilled talent. A Test player at the age of 19, he had scored only two hundreds, six years apart, the most recent four years ago after which he was banned for two years for associating with a dodgy bookmaker. It is as if he recognised that this was now or never. He made 76 yesterday, his fourth successive score above 50 taking his series aggregate to 386, and simply looked world class. Denesh Ramdin assembled a neat fifty which made it the tourists' day.

When the match at last started after two abandoned days England took the field without their regular opening bowlers. Stuart Broad joined Jimmy Anderson in being rested. Within five overs the wider ramifications were startlingly evident. It was not that the replacement bowlers lacked a cutting edge, it was the potential effect of other changes in the field which nullified their efforts.

Ian Bell, at third slip, put down a chance edged straight to him off Onions, who was playing his first Test match for 30 months. Bell, who usually has a safe pair hands at short leg or in the outer, has never been an England slip fielder. Yet he was ushered in because Anderson, who had taken a blinder in the second Test at Trent Bridge, was not there and Bresnan, a frequent stopgap, was bowling at the other end.

If that was a sitter offered by Adrian Barath, Bell then mucked up a dolly. Barath, surprised by a ball from Finn that lifted, edged it almost in an arc to Bell whose upraised palms it burst through. The opportunities obviously needed to become much easier before Bell at last snaffled one and the catch he eventually took from a splendid bouncer by Bresnan, to the debutant Assad Fudadin, looped gently to him. His heart was doubtless in his mouth until it was safely lodged.

Few observers disagree with England's intention to rotate their bowlers. The sheer weight of their schedule, which would bear down on the stoutest of shoulders, is the reason for it. That and the fact they had already won this series. But it is also true that this is the first time in four years and 54 matches that neither Anderson nor Broad have appeared in England's Test team.

It is difficult to think of a period when England were as endowed as they are now with such a depth of gifted fast bowlers. Onions took a little while to settle in length but his chief virtue of accuracy was always present. Finn was genuinely fast in his initial spell, coming on as first change. Bresnan, who took the new ball, made the breakthrough by having Kieran Powell caught at second slip, where Bell was not fielding.

Barath, failing to make the most of his lives, was lbw to Onions. If it was a narrow decision, the review by the batsman upholding the umpire's decision, it squared matters up. Barath had been the close beneficiary of an England review earlier when Andrew Strauss might have been eager to get Onions a wicket.

It was now Finn's turn to strike, which he duly did having Darren Bravo caught and bowled neither driving nor defending. Samuels illuminated the afternoon and before Bresnan unexpectedly pierced his defences, England made the mistake of engaging him in banter. He is much too cool to fall for this nonsense. Chris Gayle, the coolest man in world cricket, arrives shortly to play in the one-day series. Samuels makes him look uptight.

Edgbaston scoreboard

England won toss

West Indies – First innings

Balls/4s/6s

A B Barath lbw b Onions 41/106/4/1

K O A Powell c Swann b Bresnan 24/43/2/0

A B Fudadin c Bell b Bresnan 28/110/4/0

D M Bravo c & b Finn 6/16/1/0

M N Samuels lbw b Bresnan 76/114/10/1

N Deonarine c Strauss b Onions 7/29/1/0

†D Ramdin not out 60/108/7/0

*D J G Sammy c Strauss b Finn 16/35/2/0

S P Narine b Onions 11/17/1/0

R Rampaul not out 2/10/0/0

Extras (b2 lb6 w1) 9

Total (for 8, 98 overs) 280

Fall 1-49, 2-90, 3-99, 4-128, 5-152, 6-208, 7-241, 8-267.

To bat T L Best.

Bowling G Onions 24-7-56-3; T T Bresnan 26-8-74-3; S T Finn 22-6-65-2; G P Swann 21-5-61-0; I J L Trott 5-1-16-0.

England *A J Strauss, A N Cook, I J L Trott, K P Pietersen, I R Bell, J M Bairstow, †M J Prior, T T Bresnan, G P Swann, S T Finn, G Onions.

Umpires H D P K Dharmasena (SL) and A L Hill (NZ).

TV Umpire Aleem Dar (Pak).

Match referee R S Mahanama (SL).

Suggested Topics
Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Manchester United are believed to have made a £15m bid for Marcos Rojo
sportWinger Nani returns to Lisbon for a season-long loan as part of deal
News
news
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
O'Toole as Cornelius Gallus in ‘Katherine of Alexandria’
filmSadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment