* West Indies reach 280 for eight in third test
* Three wickets for Onions and Bresnan (Adds quotes)
By Richard Sydenham
BIRMINGHAM, England, June 9 (Reuters) - Marlon Samuels again sparkled with the bat and Denesh Ramdin made an unbeaten half-century to lead West Indies to 280 for eight on the first day of action in the third and final test against England on Saturday.
After the opening two days were washed out by rain, Graham Onions and Tim Bresnan claimed three wickets apiece after the home team won the toss and decided to field but Samuels and Ramdin made sure West Indies chalked up a respectable score at Edgbaston.
Samuels continued his fine form in the series with 76 while wicketkeeper Ramdin was 60 not out at the close and Ravi Rampaul undefeated on two.
“Cricket is a glorious game of uncertainty and I think we put a wonderful total on the board, a challenging total, so I guess we just have to bowl in good areas and see how it goes tomorrow,” Samuels told reporters.
England, seeking a 3-0 sweep in the series, rested Stuart Broad having already used the rotation policy to give their other leading fast bowler James Anderson a break ahead of the tests against South Africa next month.
West Indies made four changes. Shivnarine Chanderpaul missed out with a side injury and was replaced by Narsingh Deonarine while the out of form Kirk Edwards’s place was taken by debutant Assad Fudadin.
Off-spinner Sunil Narine was also given his debut and fast bowler Tino Best is making his first test appearance in three years.
Samuels came in at 99 for three and he was a calm, assured presence at the crease, having made 31, 86, 117 and 76 not out earlier in the series.
He was eventually trapped lbw by Bresnan but had again demonstrated his new-found maturity as a batsman.
This effort was more fluent than his previous innings as he faced just 114 balls. Samuels went to his half-century by lofting spinner Graeme Swann over mid-wicket for six and driving him through cover for four in consecutive balls.
”I‘m not doing anything differently,“ Samuels said. ”The difference is that I am playing pretty consistent now.
“There are a lot of detractors that keep you out of the game for many different reasons so right now I am just getting my time. I have been through a lot. This is my time to enjoy myself, this is my time to shine.”
West Indies lost wickets at regular intervals throughout the day, the first batsman going when Keiran Powell was dismissed by Bresnan for 24.
Fellow opener Adrian Barath was dropped twice by Ian Bell at third slip before falling to Onions for 41.
Saturday’s three wickets were a deserved reward for Onions who feared for his career after having a metal pin inserted in his back in 2010.
”A couple of years ago I genuinely didn’t think I was going to play cricket again,“ Onions said. ”That just made today even more special.
“When I put that shirt on and my cap on, it added to the nerves a little bit but it’s good nerves and I really enjoyed it. It was like a second debut really.”
The left-handed Fudadin went in at number three and he made a composed 28 before being unsettled by a nasty bouncer by Bresnan, allowing Bell to pouch an easy catch.
It is the first time in 48 years a test in England has lost the opening two days to the weather. (Editing by Tony Jimenez)