Nottingham, England (Cricinfo): West Indies coach Ottis Gibson said the batting of Marlon Samuels and Darren Sammy was a source of encouragement for him during the second Test against England, which ended on Monday. Samuels and Sammy both hit first innings hundreds and twice linked up for vital partnerships in the match at Trent Bridge. They added a record 204 – the highest by any visiting Test side in England for the seventh wicket – in the first innings to revive West Indies chances after they crumbled to 136 for six.
They also shared 49 for the same stand in the second innings, helping West Indies recover from a shaky 61 for six and set England 108 to victory, which the hosts achieved by nine wickets. Samuels hit a sparkling 117 in the first innings and followed it up with an unbeaten 76 in the second innings. Gibson felt that Samuels’ two knocks were a sign of him becoming more mature with his approach to batting. “He’s come on this tour, after he spoke to the board and was allowed to miss the Australia Test series,” said Gibson. “He came on this tour perhaps with a point to prove and he’s proven his point. “He’s played fantastically well in the middle order. He and Shivnarine (Chanderpaul) have had a lot of work to do and he’s done that work exceptionally well.”
Sammy’s first innings 106 was his maiden Test hundred and he also made 25 in the second innings. Gibson said he hoped this would help to relieve the level of criticism aimed at the West Indies captain. “It saved us from a pretty dire situation,” said Gibson. “He works very hard, he’s an honest cricketer and it’s always pleasing when that hard work pays off. “In his case, the amount of criticism he’s been getting even from some of our own people, makes it even more special for him. “I was delighted for him as I was for Marlon as well. But we didn’t utilize the hard work they’d done.”
Gibson said West Indies had to learn to manage tough situations much better than they have in the first two Tests. “We are playing the No.1 team in the World and it is difficult to expect that we are going to come and beat them,” he said. “We challenged them [in the first Test] at Lord’s, we challenged them here for periods as well, but not for long enough to create any winning opportunities.
“It is not entirely a technical thing. It is being able to repeat your skill over and over again. That is what top teams in the World do: they test your technique; they test your character; they test your mental strength. Perhaps, this is where we are falling short. We are doing the hard work, but we are not doing it for long enough. “When England make it tough for [our batsmen], we get out far easier than they do. That is a concern. But we have shown that when we do the right things, we can cause problems to the England team, but we are not doing it consistently enough at the moment.” Gibson said West Indies will use their two-day, tour match against Leicestershire at Grace Road in Leicester to give some of the players the opportunity to regain their confidence.
“The top-order needs more time in the middle it seems and we will give them every opportunity in that game,” he said. "We have got a good week off to go back and sort of reflect on where we are the moment and what we can salvage out of the rest of the series with one Test match to go and look at all the different options that we have available.” The third and final Test starts on June 7 at Edgbaston in Birmingham.