|Marlon Samuels falls painfully close to his century
Marlon Samuels just missed a century Wednesday, leading West Indies to 281-4 before bad light stopped play early on the first day of the first test against South Africa.
Samuels was dismissed for 94, his second-highest test score behind his only century against India in Kolkata in 2002.
He batted carefully for 267 minutes and faced 195 balls in partnerships of 64 with Runako Morton and 111 with Shivnarine Chanderpaul, which saw the West Indies gain the upper hand after South African captain Graeme Smith won the toss and sent the visitors in to bat at St. George’s Park.
Dale Steyn finally took Samuels’ wicket, inducing a drive to a swinging ball for Jacques Kallis to take a flying catch above his head at second slip.
Chanderpaul ground his way to an undefeated 43 off 128 balls when play was halted, and Dwayne Bravo was yet to get off the mark.
Samuels’ effort consolidated the start given the West Indies by their captain Chris Gayle who hit 66 off 49 balls in an opening partnership of 98 with Darren Ganga.
His partnership with Morton ended when Morton was dismissed for 33 after he spliced a lifting delivery from Makhaya Ntini to Ashwell Prince at point.
The South African pace attack did not have much luck early on as both batsmen survived inside edges that sailed close to their stumps off both Ntini and Steyn.
Ganga was the first to go, edging a wide delivery from Andre Nel to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher for 33.
Gayle’s wicket went two balls later, to the second ball of left-arm spinner Paul Harris’ opening over as Kallis took a sharp catch low down at first slip off an edge from an expansive drive. Gayle hit 13 fours.
South Africa’s bowlers eventually managed to slow the run rate which had threatened to get out of hand while Gayle was batting, and Harris’ 1-44 was the best return.
Steyn, Ntini and Nel also took a wicket each.