Tough day for England seamers


Half-centuries from Marlon Samuels and Denesh Ramdin carried the West Indies to a decent total of 280 for eight on day three of the third and final Test against England at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

Half-centuries from Marlon Samuels and Denesh Ramdin carried the West Indies to a decent total of 280 for eight on day three of the third and final Test at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

Opting to rested James Anderson and Stuart Broad for the last of a three-match series they lead two-nil, England will be happy enough with the performance of their back-up seamers.

While Tim Bresnan proved relatively successful in his promotion to leader of the attack, Graeme Onions and Steven Finn endured teething problems through the first session before gradually hitting their straps across the next two.

The collective defiance of Adrian Barath, Kieran Powell and Assad Fudadin ensured the opposition were allowed just one breakthrough before lunch.

While Powell was ultimately dismissed for 24 as Graeme Swann held onto the edge at second grab in the slip cordon, Barath welcomed his string of fortune.

Dropped by Ian Bell at third slip in the fifth over of the day, the right-handed opener later ended on the right end of the decision as England had their lbw review turned down. Onions was the bowler on both occasions.

Heading into lunch in a position of relative comfort, the tourists took heart from their highest first-wicket stand of the tour – 49 – and the promise of Barath and Fudadin, who was picked ahead of the marginally injured Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Inspired by a resounding pep talk from skipper Andrew Strauss during the lunch break, England emerged from the pavilion a far more threatening unit than the one on display across the day's first 29 overs.

They were quick to turn the talk into walk too, striking four times through the middle session to almost have the Windies entirely on a backfoot they have become all too familiar with during a largely one-sided series.

Barath enjoyed one more dropped catch from Bell, who again relinquished a sitter in the slips, before becoming Onions' first Test victim since 2010. The Windies opener chanced his arm with a review, but he was struck on the front pad dead enough in front of the stumps to warrant the umpire's finger a second time.

Darren Bravo flopped in handing Finn an easy catch off his own bowling and Narsingh Deonarine, playing ahead of the out-of-form Kirk Edwards, wasn't much better in holing out behind the wicket off Onions.

Fudadin, bringing to an end a promising knock on debut, eventually succumbed to a fierce short ball from Bresnan, with Bell gratefully at hand to catch a looping edge off the shoulder of the bat. If England's Jonny Bairstow's handling of the bouncer is to be questioned, the same doubt will soon surround the left-handed West Indian.

Samuels, eager to cash in on the superb form that brought him a half-ton at Lord's and a century at Trent Bridge, was a veritable one-man show in the middle session – the right-hander scored 50 of the 79 runs.

England chased the new ball, giving away near freebie runs as Graeme Swann and part-time seamer Jonathan Trott operated hastily in tandem. Samuels merrily tucked into the looseners coughed up.

His hopes of a second century in as many matches, though, were dashed soon after the interval. He, arguably selfishly, called for an lbw referral when trapped in front by Bresnan. Yes, there was a slight chance the delivery was going past off-stump, but television replays promptly revealed the trajectory to be very much on target.

Ramdin dutifully took over the mantle. His 60 not out was his first 50-plus Test knock since late 2009. It was accrued during handy late-innings stands alongside Darren Sammy and Sunil Narine. The wicketkeeper-batsman exemplified shepherding the lower order.

20 runs short of 300 in 98 overs isn't entirely impressive in the bigger picture, but on this isolated Saturday the Windies will know their committed effort has at least gone a long way in staving off defeat – and thus a three-nil series whitewash – in a match that lost its first two days to rain.