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May 21, 2011
Marlon Samuels made a promising return to Test cricket with a half-century in his first innings for three years, but he was not satisfied after West Indies struggled against Pakistan's attack. After Pakistan's tail wagged to reach 272, West Indies battled to 184 for 8 at the close of the second day, with Samuels having fallen for 57 late in the afternoon.
Still, there were some good signs for Samuels, who has completed a two-year ban for his alleged involvement with illegal bookmakers. He struck seven fours and two sixes and top scored in an innings where no other player had so far reached 25.
"This was my first innings on my return to Test cricket and I conditioned my mind to play a long innings for the team," Samuels said. "It was a good feeling to go out there and play the way I did for the team but I'm not totally satisfied. I have been getting big runs since I came back into first-class cricket for Jamaica and I was looking to carry on and go all the way today.
"I was hitting the ball very well. I came into this match with a lot of runs behind me and my confidence is high. Right now in my life, my form is a state of mind. I don't think my form will leave me at this moment and I am just stroking the ball the way I like and getting into the groove.
"I reached 50 and my goal was to go on and get a hundred. I was thinking once I got to three figures the team would be a good position and we would get the lead. I wanted to be there to get the target for the team."
Samuels departed while trying to get some quick late runs, caught at long-off trying to clear the boundary off the spin of Saeed Ajmal. That left the tailenders Kemar Roach and Ravi Rampaul with plenty of work to do, with only the No. 11 Devendra Bishoo still to come, and Samuels said he had faith the lower-order men could do the job.
"I was talking to Roach when we were together, and I told him to believe," he said. "He is a guy who can bat and he is showing that. I believe in the guys to do the job for the team and take us close to the runs we need to get for the lead. We're still in the game. There is a lot of cricket left to be played."
West Indies need a similar tail-end effort to that provided by Pakistan after Tanvir Ahmed and Saeed Ajmal put on 78 for the last wicket. Tanvir made his maiden Test half-century and was the last man out for 57, and he said the pair knew it was an important partnership.
"I think Saeed and I did very well to bat the way we did, and give our side such a big partnership because the pitch is not playing easy," Tanvir said. "We needed those runs for the team, and it helped us to post a respectable total. I told Saeed Ajmal to try and play as straight as possible because they were bowling well, and he followed my advice, and I did the same, and it worked."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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