In a rare show of emotion, Kraigg Brathwaite slammed the bat on the pitch after getting out for 94. The Khaled Ahmed delivery had surprised him by keeping low as it hit him on the pads Jermaine Blackwood tried to convince him to take the review but Brathwaite knew what had happened. Replays confirmed that it would hit the leg-stump.
Captaincy has brought the best out of Brathwaite, who has led West Indies to two impressive series wins in the last 18 months, and has now put his team ahead in the ongoing Antigua Test against Bangladesh as well. “I always enjoy captaining,” he said. “I like the challenge. I like to lead from the front. I am really enjoying it. I want to continue to lead to the best of my ability.”
His captaincy is reflected within his batting. He is an accumulator, and takes his time to score runs. On Friday too, Brathwaite batted responsibly, not allowing the impressive Bangladesh pace attack to make any in-roads. He left most of what was bowled to him, scoring off deliveries pitched on the stumps. He made 61 of his 94 runs on the on-side, proving a batter’s discipline does indeed force bowlers into making mistakes.
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Brathwaite was candid about his displeasure at getting out six runs short of a well-deserved Test hundred, though it was a crucial innings on a two-paced track that pushed West Indies to a lead of 162.
“When I started the innings, the pitch was a bit slow,” he said. “It got a little harder this morning but still it was on the slow side. But I think it was a decent pitch to bat on. I am obviously disappointed but I am happy that the team has an important lead. I was pleased (with the 94) but the most important thing was to build on a foundation for my team. I was happy with the time I spent. Obviously well done to the team for getting a lead.”
Brathwaite added 62 and 63 for the third and fourth wicket with Nkrumah Bonner and Blackwood respectively, partnerships although not too big, were crucial in the context of the game.
“The partnerships were really important. I think the Bangladesh bowlers did really well. Even the spinners held their line really well. The pitch was a little slow but it still had something for the pacers off the surface. I think those were crucial partnerships. I thought we did a good job to get a lead.”
Bangladesh are 50 for 2 in the second innings, trailing by 112 runs and Brathwaite knows that his team faces a decisive period of play on the third day. “We lost some wickets in a cluster which wasn’t good but that can happen,” he said. The pitch doesn’t have as much moisture as it did on the first day. It is important that we start well (on Saturday).
“The first hour is crucial. We have to keep it tight even if we don’t get wickets. Once we build pressure, that’s how we will take wickets. I don’t think we can run them over. We have to bowl well.”