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March 14, 2013
After the end of the second day's play in Barbados, Darren Sammy said what's been said several times before, that cricket was "a game of shifting fortunes and glorious uncertainties," and despite West Indies being in a dominant position, he was going to "remind the guys that this game is not yet over."
West Indies had faced plenty of uncertainty at Kensington Oval and it had been Sammy's attacking half-century that shifted momentum in their favour, after a spirited Zimbabwe bowling performance had reduced the hosts to 151 for 6, in danger of conceding a first-innings lead to opponents who hadn't played Test cricket in a year.
With Marlon Samuels and Shivnarine Chanderpaul falling in the space of seven runs, West Indies were down to their last recognised batsmen, Sammy and Denesh Ramdin, and the pair produced a 106-run stand. Sammy did not hold back, flaying the bowling during his 73 off 69 balls.
"I backed myself and I played my natural game," Sammy said. "That partnership with Ramdin and myself really put us in a good position and set up the game nicely.
"Today for me it wasn't about survival as I always back myself to play the proper shot. They gave me some loose balls and I put them away. That's cricket - you respect the good balls and when you get the bad balls you put them away. It was a matter of [proper] execution. It was good to see that Denesh at No. 6 and myself scheduled to be at No. 7 were able to put on over 100 runs and put the team on the right track after we were five wickets down."
Ramdin was batting in his 50th Test on his 28th and he marked the occasion with a half-century, digging in for 62 off 130 balls. After his stand with Sammy, Ramdin batted with the tail to take West Indies past 300 and secure a lead of 96.
"I was focused on getting a score and batting the team out of trouble," Ramdin told WICB Media. "Wickets fell rapidly yesterday and we had a few fall early in the day so I knew I had to settle in and stay focused on batting to the end.
"It was fantastic batting with Sammy and I was thrilled to watch the way he dominated the bowling. He took all the pressure off me and put all the pressure on the bowlers. He loves to go after the bowling and that meant there was less pressure on me. He is that kind of player, he can change the game in quick time and I was just happy to rotate the strike and run hard between the wickets."
After taking the lead, West Indies strengthened their grip on the Test by taking three Zimbabwe wickets, reducing them to 41 for 3 before stumps. "We wanted to bat all day but we didn't so when we came out to bowl we were hunting for wickets," Sammy said. "From the time Zimbabwe came down we were focused on winning. We have won four Test matches [in a row] and before this Test series we said we wanted to win this one - take it game by game, day by day."
"We are well on top with the wickets - with Shillingford getting two wickets and Shannon bowling quite fast and getting the other wicket. We got three of their top order batmen out and they are still over 50 runs behind."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge