KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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West Indies captain and former MCC Young Cricketer (YC) Darren Sammy is celebrating after his five second-innings wickets inspired his team to a 40-run win over Pakistan.
The West Indies’ victory in the opening Test in Guyana was their first Test win since they beat England in February 2009.
Sammy, in just his fourth Test as skipper, took seven wickets in the match including a crucial 5-29 as Pakistan were dismissed for 178 chasing 219 to win.
A world record 20 LBW decisions were given over the course of the three-and-a-half day battle on what was a difficult track for the batsmen.
Sammy collected five of his match haul from LBW decisions including a crucial double-blow when Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq and wicket-keeper Mohammad Salman were dismissed within three second innings deliveries.
Pakistan were 135-4 when before Sammy struck in the third over of his spell, effectively dooming the tourists to defeat.
Sammy might have felt under pressure going into the Test despite only being appointed in October, following a disappointing ICC World Cup campaign.
Some had questioned the 27-year-old’s place in the side, but his man-of-the-match performance will have silenced many of his critics.
Sammy led a new-look bowling attack - featuring debutant leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo and the impressive Ravi Rampaul - with aplomb and will hope to wrap the series up. The second and final Test starts in St Kitts on Saturday 20 May.
Sammy declared himself delighted with the attitude shown from his new-look Test side:
He said: "I commend the guys for the effort, the fighting spirit they showed on a difficult pitch.
"The belief of the team is quite good.
"That's something the batting coach and the head coach been instilling in our guys. Once you could believe, you could achieve."
Sammy, 27, spent two seasons on the YC staff in 2003 and 2004 before making his West Indies debut against New Zealand in 2004 - despite rain ensuring not a single ball was bowled.
He had to wait a further three years for his Test debut but celebrated with figures of 7-66 in the second innings of West Indies’ defeat to England at Old Trafford.
His Test career had apparently stalled before he was appointed captain, with just eight appearances spread over a period of three years.
The all-rounder is the first cricketer from St Lucia to have represented the West Indies.
Sammy is one of a number of former YCs playing international cricket. Others include Ross Taylor of New Zealand and Kevin O'Brien of Ireland.