England v WI, 2nd Test, Trent Bridge, 2nd day May 26, 2012

Heart-warming fortune for Sammy

ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the second day at Trent Bridge

Milestone of the day
Maybe the ball did not go quite where he intended - Darren Sammy was aiming through midwicket and the ball disappeared through point - but the boundary that took West Indies' captain to his maiden Test century in his 45th innings was a heart-warming moment. Not only was this tangible individual reward for Sammy's part in an encouraging seventh-wicket stand but it was also a highpoint in the personal career of an honest, selfless cricketer. Sammy was not dealt a handful of aces when he inherited the captaincy of this West Indies side: beset by political problems far beyond his control, he is a man with a limited team and limited personal talent but he makes the most of his ability and has instilled in his side a pride and unity that might, with some nurturing and some reinforcement, grow into something more substantial in time. No-one, be they supporters of England or West Indies, would begrudge him his moment in the sun.

Obliging shot of the day
Perhaps it is churlish to criticise a man who had just recorded his maiden Test century and helped post a record seventh-wicket stand of 204. But, having fought their way back into the match, West Indies had an opportunity to build a formidable position. They had an opportunity to take advantage of an easy-natured pitch and a jaded attack to reach a total well in excess of 400 and apply pressure on England. Instead Darren Sammy, perhaps losing concentration a few moments after completing his impressive century, pulled a short ball straight to the man set for the shot on the square leg boundary. Marlon Samuels' angry swish of the bat spoke volumes: Sammy had let England off the hook. Left with just the tail for company, Samuels fell just nine balls later attempting to force the pace and West Indies had squandered their chance to reach a match-defining total.

Let off of the day
Alastair Cook felt for one outside off stump and was very well taken by Denesh Ramdin, it seemed West Indies had the early breakthrough they required. England, it appeared, were 2 for 1, with Cook out for one. It was not to be. Instead Aleem Dar, somewhat unsighted by Kemar Roach's action but suspecting he might have over-stepped, called for a review which showed the delivery had been a no-ball. Cook was reprieved and a weakness in the West Indies game had been highlighted. This was an accident waiting to happen: Roach delivered 18 no-balls in 38 overs during the first Test at Lord's and six in 21 overs in the game against the Lions. To compound his error here, Roach repeated it a few overs later. This time Cook was on 12.

Shot of the day
Accepted wisdom would suggest that a batsman should take a little time to take a look at a bowler before launching an attack. But Kevin Pietersen has never accepted the conventional path. Instead he skipped down the wicket to the first delivery he faced from the offspin of Shane Shillingford and deposited the ball over long-on for six. With Andrew Strauss also cutting two fours, the over cost 17 and, a short while later, Shillingford was withdrawn from the attack after an opening spell that had cost more than five an over. Strauss later denied that it was a pre-emptive attack, but the result of England's assault was that West Indies' plans to use Shillingford to maintain control were in tatters. It is worth remembering, surely, the criticism Pietersen would have attracted had he mis-hit and been caught: that is the nature of the beast. Pietersen is a match-changing player. When it comes off he looks magical; when it does not, he can look foolish. In a team containing solid players such as Cook, Trott and Strauss, however, there is surely for a risk-taking batsman like Pietersen.

Quote of the day
Asked to reflect on his place in history - now only three men (Colin Cowdrey, Wally Hammond and Geoffrey Boycott) have scored more Test centuries for England than Strauss' 21, England's captain took a typically modest view. "You only have to look at how many centuries Sachin Tendulkar has scored to realise 21 is not that many," Strauss said. Tendulkar has scored 51 Test centuries to date.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo