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Samuels, Gayle steady WI

Port Elizabeth: Marlon Samuels was dismissed six runs short of a century as the West Indies produced a resilient batting display on the first day of the first Test against South Africa here on Wednesday.

Samuels, who had enjoyed two let offs, was out for 94 in the fourth over before the close, which bad light forced six overs early with West Indies on 281 for fours. On 14, Samuels edged a no-ball from fast bowler Dale Steyn to Graeme Smith at first slip. He was then on 23 when he gloved a ball from Steyn to AB de Villiers at first slip.

Umpire Aleem Dar, who had spotted Steyn’s no-ball, correctly ruled that Samuels had taken his hand off his bat before the ball struck his glove. Samuels faced 194 balls, which contrasted with Chris Gayle’s whirlwind half-century that made South Africa rue their decision to put the tourists in to bat.

Gayle, who passed a fitness test on the hamstring he injured in a one-day International against Zimbabwe three weeks ago, was captaining West Indies for the first time in a Test and fired his 66 off 49 balls with 13 fours.

Gayle and Daren Ganga scored freely against a pace attack that wasted the new ball by bowling an inconsistent line and length. Change bowler Andre Nel made the breakthrough 45 minutes before lunch when Ganga, who scored 33, drove recklessly at a wide delivery and was caught behind by wicketkeeper Mark Boucher to end the opening stand at 98.

Two balls later, Gayle reached too far forward to drive a delivery in left-arm spinner Paul Harris’s first over, and edged a catch to Jacques Kallis at slip.

Samuels and Runako Morton steadied the innings with a stand of 64 that was ended an hour after lunch when Morton, who scored 33, checked a drive to a ball from fast bowler Makhaya Ntini and was caught by Ashwell Prince at backward point.

Samuels and Shivnarine Chanderpaul added 111 for the fourth wicket before Samuels played an expansive drive to a ball from Steyn, the fifth bowled with the new ball, and was well caught by Kallis at second slip.

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