PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (CMC) — While batting yesterday’s fourth day of the second Test, it was not lost on Marlon Samuels that he had narrowly missed out on three figures in his last innings at St George’s Park seven years ago.
The 33-year-old right-hander was determined not to make the same mistake twice.
It was no surprise therefore when he unfurled a high quality innings of 101 to help propel West Indies to 275 for nine at the close.
“Last time I was here I made 94 at this ground and I’m basically sitting in the same seat,” said Samuels.
“I told myself when I get in the 90s again I am definitely going to be a little bit more positive and try and go to a hundred. So against a number one team with a world class bowling attack and getting a hundred, it’s a wonderful feeling.”
Resuming the day on 60, Samuels was positive in his stroke-play, cruising to his sixth Test hundred in style. He cleared the ropes at long on with leg-spinner Imran Tahir before following up with a loft over mid-wicket for four a few balls later, to reach his landmark.
All told, he batted 160 balls, in 203 minutes and counted 14 fours and a six.
Samuels, a mainstay of the tourists’ batting in recent years, said he was enjoying the responsibility.
“I’ve been waiting for these opportunities and they are a lot of responsibility. It’s a good feeling,” he told a media conference.
“I’ve been around for a while and I usually have young players asking me stuff and whenever they ask me stuff, it reminds me I have a big part to play.”
Samuels put on 176 for the third wicket with 22-year-old opener Kraigg Brathwaite who hit 106, his third Test century. The pair carried West Indies to 231 for two in the second session before being separated.
On a rain-hit day when only 35 overs were possible, West Indies suffered a collapse once Brathwaite and Samuels were separated, losing seven wickets for 44 runs.
They trail South Africa by 142 runs, after the Proteas piled up 417 for eight declared in their first innings, and Samuels believed if West Indies had not squandered crucial catches when they fielded, West Indies could have been in a stronger position.
“If we had taken those chances I think it would have been a totally different game, and again rain has also been involved for much of the time,” Samuels pointed out.
“If we had gotten South Africa all out for a lesser total and then matched that total or led by 100 runs and put them back into bat … it would be a good Test match. If there wasn’t any rain, I think we would put up a very good challenge against the number one team.”
West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels leaves the ground after being bowled out by South Africa’s bowler Vernon Philander during the fourth day of the second Test against South Africa at St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, yesterday.