WEST Indies batsman Marlon Samuels underlined his current rich spell of form with a well-crafted 123 -- his maiden Test ton on Caribbean soil — against New Zealand in the second Digicel match at Sabina Park yesterday.
Heading into this encounter averaging a modest 33.40 from 41 matches, that belies the huge promise he showed as a brash teenager, Samuels was the lone redeeming figure in the West Indies first innings as the 'Black Caps' took a useful first innings lead of 51.
The stroke-player's fourth Test century bolstered the almost peerless consistency he has shown since the English tour, where he topped the runs chart in the five-day format.
In England, he amassed 386 runs in five innings at an average of 96.50, while cracking a hundred and three half-centuries.
Speaking during the media conference at the close of day two, a relaxed-looking Samuels said that he now has a "different mindset" than the youngster who made his Test debut in 2000 in Australia.
"It's just my time to enjoy my cricket. Waking up in the morning, what do I worry about? I don't worry about getting a game. I know I'm going to play. So what I do is worry about how I'm going to start my innings. It's just a different mindset so I'm definitely at peace with myself.
"There was so many problems that I was plagued with (as a youngster). I've been over those hurdles and been through some tough times. Now I've weathered the storm," the 31-year-old said.
He explained that batting on the seamer-friendly Sabina Park deck was a challenge against the spirited New Zealand four-prong pace attack.
"They kept coming at us and it wasn't the easiest of pitches to bat on. It seemed flat, but the ball kept doing something here and there. I had to apply myself and concentrate a little bit harder. A couple (of balls) kept low and then you may get one that shifts or one that jumps.
"All the New Zealand bowlers did pretty well. They stuck to their lengths and their lines properly.
"You have to spend quality time out there and that's what I did. This was the kind of pitch you had to play late. I played as late as possible and it worked out for me. If you be patient on a wicket like this they (the bowlers) obviously would get tired and you get more bad balls coming down to the end," said the self-assured batsman.
Samuels tied the pleasure of reaching the landmark with the celebrations of Jamaica 50th year since Independence.
"It's a special time for Jamaica 50th so I had to come out and put in my piece of celebration with my people. It's just a great feeling that I'm in front of my people doing excellently. It (the innings) was delightful and I'm happy," he ended.