KHULNA, Bangladesh – Darren Sammy hailed the batting of Marlon Samuels and said he has become an integral part of the West Indies team since his return to the international game last year.
The Windies captain spoke after Samuels stroked a typically silky hundred and equally composed batting from Darren Bravo led a strong reply for the visitors against Bangladesh in the second Test on Thursday here.
Samuels was undefeated on 109 – his fifth Test hundred – and left-hander Bravo was unbeaten on 85 – eyeing his fourth Test hundred – as West Indies reached 241 for two, replying to Bangladesh’s first innings total of 387 at the close on the second day at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium.
The pair has put on 198 – unbroken – for the third wicket to tip the scales in the balance, after the Windies wobbled on 43 for two before lunch, following the cheap dismissals of Kieran Powell for 13 and Chris Gayle for 25.
“Marlon did not have a significant score in the previous Test, and I know before he arrived, he said he wanted to score three international hundreds,” said Sammy. “The way he went about his innings, this is what we are getting used to from Marlon.
“He has scored over 700 runs for us this year and he has been batting well for us in all formats of the game. Over the last few years, we have asked our batsmen to take responsibility and it is good to see more players doing it. Hopefully, we can continue and get a big total again.”
Sammy also praised Bravo for the character that he showed during his innings and said it was a solid partnership that he had built with Samuels.
“Bravo had a good knock in the second innings of the previous Test and he looks really good,” said Sammy.
“We normally score quickly, but he and Samuels have played really well, and have assessed the state of the pitch to judge the tempo at which they can score.
“Friday is a new day, but we will be looking for them to start well and give us a solid foundation early on with a player like Shiv still to come.”
Sammy said it was a good day for West Indies, after Bangladesh had amassed 365 for eight on Wednesday’s opening day.
“We saw how they batted on the pitch and we knew how good it would have been to bat on, so it was good to see our batsmen take the responsibility and we did not lose more than two wickets,” he said.
“It was also good for us to knock off the two remaining Bangladesh wickets early in the morning period and look to bat ourselves into a superior position.”
He added: “It was a new day for us and we knew that we only needed two wickets to start things off and it was good that we got them in the first half-hour.
“The pitch is getting a little slow and turning even slower. It looks a little dry after the day’s play and I don’t think there is any hurry for us with three days remaining in the Test. It is a Test match and we have to exercise our patience.”
Reflecting on the previous day’s play, Sammy said it was difficult to endure, as Abul Hasan blasted a Test hundred on debut batting at 10 to lead a rearguard action for the home team, but it was a learning experience for the entire team.
“Being on the receiving end is never a good thing,” he said. “Seeing we had them 193 for eight and they ended up almost doubling that score thanks to the second-last pair.
“I had to put myself in the shoes of the England team when Tino Best scored 95 batting at 11 earlier this year. I knew how we felt in the dressing room, but I also realised how England must have felt.”
Sammy said: “Abul scored really, really fast, but I don’t think we bowled the right areas to him consistently enough, and probably this was his moment in time.
“He was making his debut and God must have shone on him, giving him a memorable start to his international career.”
Sammy said West Indies plan was simple – try to bat once and lead Bangladesh by no less than 200 – and push over the last two days for victory.
“The way we bat on Friday will determine how the Test unfolds,” he said. “If we bat to our full potential, we can score a total of over 500 or 600, and work hard to get 10 wickets in their second innings.”