Cricinfo: West Indies in India 2006-07

3rd ODI: India v West Indies at Chennai, 27 Jan 2007

Samuels sizzles in Windies win

When Marlon Samuels gets going, West Indies are usually the favourites. Samuels is a familiar face among Indian fans and those who showed up in Chennai knew that India had plenty more to contend with apart from Brian Lara. He has shown a liking to Indian pitches in the past. In late 2002, he bludgeoned the Indians in Vijayawada with an unbeaten 108 to seal the match and the series. Last year, he scored the winning runs in a tense finish in a Champions Trophy encounter against India, just when the home fans dreamt of an improbable win. His nonchalant batting style and calm exterior may appear deceptive, as hsi innings of 98 tonight, that caught India off guard, showed.

With Chris Gayle and Runako Morton back in the pavilion early, Samuels and Lara began the damage control, choosing to attack rather than graft. He had his share of meaty offerings from the seamersas he walloped 48 from the 42 balls Sreesanth and Agarkar bowled to him, with Agarkar in particular coming in for some harsh treatment. In one over early in the innings, Samuels smashed him for three fours, smacking one delivery down the leg side and smashing the next two past cover. Sreesanth struggled to control the movement of the ball and when Rahul Dravid brought on the spinners, they weren't spared either. Ramesh Powar was at the receiving end of a glorious six over long off and the boundaries kept flowing.

A major portion of his runs came on the off side - 71 in all, with ten fours and a six. Anil Kumble, for all his experience, struggled to control Samuels and with every fluent stroke, India's chances of taking an unassailable 3-0 lead diminished. A mistimed loft off Powar too reached the ropes, which clearly meant that it was his day. He dug into anything just short of a length from the spinners, giving the fielders no chance as the ball sped away. A century was there for the taking, but it had to take some brilliance in the field, courtesy Dinesh Karthik, to deny him the landmark.

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