'We have to score runs' says Kraigg
Mumbai, India – After laying a solid foundation in a century partnership with fellow-opener Adrian Barath, West Indies teenaged opener Kraigg Brathwaite said the visitors are looking to push on when play resumes on the second day of the third and final Test against India, at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday.
“Yes, we lost two wickets, but we have two batsmen (Kirk Edwards and Darren Bravo) who are well set to come out tomorrow and dominate (the bowling) and get a good score,” said the 18-year-old, who scored a career-best 68 and put on 137-run opening wicket stand with Barath (62).
The West Indies, down 0-2 in the three-match rubber, were 267 for two at stumps with Kirk Edwards (65) and Darren Bravo (57) at the crease.
Brathwaite, whose previous highest score in six Tests was 63made in the opening match at the Feroze Shah Kotla in Delhi, said the plan is to bat for the major part of day two and pile on a formidable total.
“Having elected to bat, we want to bat out the better part of two days and get a good score. In Kolkata, in the second innings we got a good score and we want to do that again,” he said.
Praising the Wankhede pitch, Brathwaite said it is the best of the three they had played on so far in India.
“This is probably the best among the three we have played on. New ball was doing a bit, but not much. It was spinning but quite slowly. We were trying to adjust. It's a good pitch,” he said.
The opening batsman also felt that the pitch would offer consistent bounce throughout the match.
“I feel bounce will be consistent throughout the match. I don’t think there will be low bounce or anything,” said Brathwaite.
Tuesday’s effort was only the third time that the first four batsmen scored fifties together in the same innings for West Indies. The first time was against India at the Brabourne in 1948 – Allan Rae (104), Jeffrey Stollmeyer (66), Clyde Walcott (68) and Everton Weekes (194).
The second occasion was at Headingley against England in 1976 – Roy Fredericks (109), Gordon Greenidge (115), Vivian Richards (66) and Lawrence Rowe (50).
Brathwaite, a University of the West Indies student, who is less than two weeks away from his 19th birthday, struck eight fours off 184 balls. Barath, who played with his usual freedom, also hit eight boundaries off 148 balls. The century opening stand is the fourth for West Indies in Tests since December 2009 and second this month.
This is Brathwaite’s second century opening stand in his short career. He added 100 with Kieran Powell in the second Test against Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla three weeks ago.
Brathwaite revealed that he and his opening partner had decided to avoid taking risks in the morning and bat out an hour at the least by seeing off the new ball.
“As openers we decided we have to see off the first hour without losing any wicket. And we did that. We said we should press on, get a 50 partnership and then a hundred. When we came after lunch we said we give the team the best possible start,” he said.
The youngster from Barbados said that the slow scoring in the first session (80-0 in 30 overs) was because the Indian pacers bowled a consistent line.
“The bowlers were bowling consistently. Not easy to get the pacers off the wicket," said Brathwaite.
On Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who was ruled out of the Test after he failed to recover sufficiently from the calf strain he sustained in the Kolkata Test, Brathwaite said that although he is a world class player, every other batsman in the side knows they have to score runs and there is no change in the team’s strategy.
“We did not change our strategy that much. Obviously he’s a world-class player. We know what we have to do. As batsmen know we have to score runs. That's the bottom line.”