West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels said the Indian bowlers did not give them an inch and felt things became more difficult after the ball was changed in the second session of the first cricket Test here today.
Opting to bat after winning the toss, West Indies were all out for 234 with Samuels top-scoring with a knock of 65 on the opening day. Debutant Indian pacer Mohammed Shami picked 4/71.
“To be honest, the Indian bowlers didn’t give us anything. They were very disciplined the way they bowled. They attacked the stumps. When you go out there, you have to work very hard to get some runs. I backed myself and took my chance early,” Samuels told reporters.
Samuels said the Indian attack became more penetrating after they changed the ball.
“It was pretty easy going till the ball changed. Then it started doing a little bit more.”
All praise for Shami, Saumels said the pacer has good future for India.
“I’ve only seen Shami in a one-day game. For him to come into a Test match... everybody deserves a chance, you know.
You can’t look at someone and say he’s a one-day cricketer. He got his opportunity and he made full use of it. That’s the way cricket goes. Nothing surprises me in cricket.
“As the game progressed, he came into his own and did what he does best. He was in-swinging the ball and later on, he was getting the ball to shape away as well. The future for young Shami is looking very good,” he added.
Samuels further said it was disappointing to not capitalise after winning the toss in the first of the two-match series, which is retiring legend Sachin Tendulkar’s last.
“The fast bowlers and even the spinners, when they got some turn, there was some awkward bounce. Some kept low. The bounce wasn’t consistent but it’s still a good pitch to bat on,” Samuels said.
“When you come to India, you want to score at least 400 in your first innings. That sets up the Test match. But when you get bowled out on the first day after winning the toss, you’ll be very disappointed.
“It’s something to discuss when you go back to the dressing room. But the runs are on the board already. It’s for us to go out there and defend it as a team.”
India were 37 for no loss at stumps on the first day of Sachin Tendulkar’s 199th and penultimate Test.
Asked about his own effort, the West Indies top-scorer in the first innings said: “My batting’s come together. I’ve been scoring runs consistently. If you can score runs in England, it gives you the confidence to take your career forward.
“It’s a very tough place. These conditions are similar to West Indies, where the ball doesn’t move much except for reverse swing. I’m just enjoying cricket and having fun -- loving Test cricket, the best cricket.”
Earlier, before the match began, both teams lined up on the field in honour of Tendulkar.
Describing Tendulkar as the greatest batsman ever, Samuels said: “We had a little ceremony in the morning, on the ground. For me, Sachin is the greatest cricketer that ever played the game. He’s a legend. To share the same field with him is a pleasure.
“While batting, when he came very close, I had something to say. As usual, he responded with his very soft voice,” he added.