Samuels and Joseph too hot for depleted England
West Indies A 253 and 366 for 9 (Samuels 118, Joseph 106, Mahmood 4-51) beat England A 386 and 231 by one wicket
West Indies A won the first Test against England A by one wicket in a nail-biting finish at St John's after doing their best to squander a comfortable position. Hundreds from Marlon Samuels and Sylvester Joseph appeared to have assured them of victory, but both fell to careless shots to set up a dramatic finale.
The pair added 194 for the fourth wicket in uncompromising style. Samuels is unquestionably talented, but his stop-start Test career has been more stop, largely because of injury. But he showed his class with 118 which included three sixes, while Joseph's 106 was equally impressive.
At first the pair steadied the ship after West Indies slipped to 83 for 3, and then as the morning progressed they cut loose. England, who in fairness have at times not been sure who is exactly playing for them, such have been the comings and goings, were so short that they had to recruit a local teenager to field for them. Short of a cutting edge, it was not too surprising that they were unable to make any inroads, and when Samuels holed out to make it 277 for 4, it seemed little more than a consolation.
But Joseph followed almost immediately, and although Carlton Baugh kept attacking, the pressure mounted as Sajid Mahmood took two wickets in three balls and Vikram Solanki ran out Tino Best with a direct hit. Within two overs, 348 for 6 had become 351 for 9, and England were in the box seat.
Baugh, however, found an ally in Jermaine Lawson, and between them they squeezed out the runs needed, Lawson ending a gripping final day with a driven four off Rikki Clarke.