Birmingham - Marlon Samuels and Denesh Ramdin both scored fifties as the West Indies reached 280 for eight against England at stumps on the third day of the third Test at Edgbaston here on Saturday.
Samuels followed his hundred in England's nine-wicket second Test win at Trent Bridge with a stylish 76 as this match finally got underway after the first two days had been washed out without a ball being bowled.
The West Indies, who had been a solid 85 for one at lunch, slumped to 152 for five but rallied thanks to a sixth-wicket stand of 56 between Samuels and wicketkeeper Ramdin.
At the close, Ramdin was 60 not out after completing a 97-ball half-century with six fours. Ravi Rampaul was unbeaten on two.
Graham Onions marked his recall to Test duty in the absence of rested paceman James Anderson and Stuart Broad with three wickets for 56 runs in 24 overs while Tim Bresnan took three for 74 in 26.
England's position might have been stronger had they not dropped three slip catches.
History was against either side winning this match as only twice before, when England beat New Zealand at Leeds in 1958 and New Zealand defeated Bangladesh at Hamilton in 2001, had teams won a Test after the first two days had been washed out completely.
That England captain Andrew Strauss opted to field first after winning the toss against a West Indies side whose top-order collapses had helped the hosts into an unassailable 2-0 lead in this three-Test series was no surprise.
And Onions, in his first Test in over two years, nearly had an early wicket.
Adrian Barath had made four when he edged the Durham quick only for Ian Bell, fielding in the third slip position often occupied by Anderson, to drop the straightforward chance.
Instead it was Bresnan who struck first when he had Kieran Powell caught by second slip Graeme Swann for 24 to leave the tourists 49 for one.
Barath was still on his lunch score of 40 not out when he was reprieved again by Bell, who dropped an easy chance off fast bowler Steven Finn, recalled in the absence of Broad.
Fortunately for England, it was not an expensive miss as Barath had added just one run when Onions had him lbw
Test debutant Assad Fudadin, in for the dropped Kirk Edwards, saw his promising innings end on 28 when he gloved a well-directed Bresnan bouncer and Bell, to the delight of his Warwickshire home crowd, at last held a catch.
Samuels struck successive deliveries from off-spinner Swann for a six and a four to complete a 76-ball fifty.
But shortly before tea Narsingh Deonarine, in for the injured Shivnarine Chanderpaul, edged Onions to Strauss at first slip.
Samuels, again involved in plenty of 'verbals' with his opponents, was out when, five deliveries before the arrival of the new ball, he fell lbw to Bresnan's off-cutter.
The Jamaican reviewed New Zealand umpire Tony Hill's decision but replays indicated the ball had just pitched in line and Samuels's entertaining innings, featuring a six and 10 fours, was at an end.
West Indies captain Darren Sammy, who scored his maiden Test hundred at Trent Bridge, was dropped badly by Strauss off Middlesex colleague Finn.
But the all-rounder was still on 16 when he fell to the same combination to leave the West Indies 241 for seven.
And shortly before stumps, the accurate Onions had Test debutant Sunil Narine playing on for 11.