Kraigg Brathwaite is solid in temperament and technically, becoming efficient day by day………
West Indies sprung a surprise at North Sound by cleaning up Bangladesh for a mere total of 43 in the first innings, which is also their lowest in Test history. While all the headlines were hogged by Kemar Roach for a record-breaking bowling spell, Kraigg Brathwaite was the silent assassin with the bat. This West Indies team is on a rise, the young and talented side has shown immense promise in the recent times. This series is important for both the teams and West Indies have certainly got themselves to an electrifying start.
After the Test series against Sri Lanka ending in a draw, West Indies have their hopes pinned on this series against Bangladesh. The pitch had enough for their seamers to exploit and they did it with perfection. Moreover, it was Bangladesh’s mediocre batting, but West Indies bowlers did spill fire and wreaked havoc in the first session. When West Indies batsmen walked out to bat, the pressure was on Bangladesh to concede as minimum lead as possible.
With the trail being of just 43 runs, there was a possibility of West Indies batsmen taking things lightly and losing concentration. But they realized this was an opportunity to cash in and they did it with perfection. This was the difference between both the sides – Bangladesh threw their wickets easily, but their opponents put huge price tags on their wickets. Devon Smith and Kraigg Brathwaite played out the new ball cautiously and ensured West Indies didn’t lose any early wicket. While Smith was dismissed after a tenacious fifty, Brathwaite continued his good run and remained unbeaten on 88 at stumps on Day 1.
Brathwaite played watchfully, there wasn’t any risk involved in his cricket, which has also been a pattern for his success in the recent times. He showed some staggering temperament and along with Smith, took the West Indies to 90 for 0 at Tea. The surface still had a lot of bounce and movement to offer and Bangladesh bowlers did show some sheer discipline with the ball. They kept bowling outside the off stump and invited them for a drive. But West Indies batsmen hardly made any mistake, especially Brathwaite. He took his time, he played a lot of dot deliveries, but there was no need to hurry, especially after folding the opposition under a score of 50.
West Indies were in no hurry, they hardly had 43-odd runs to score in order to gain a lead. They had all the time in the world. Brathwaite has been a prolific run-scorer at the top, and scored crucial runs against the new ball. And if West Indies were eyeing to gain any massive lead, it was pivotal for one of their openers to fire and play it big. Brathwaite didn’t lose his concentration and remained focused after the dismissal of Smith. Powell played some attacking cricket from the other end, but that didn’t change the way Brathwaite went about his cricket.
Brathwaite didn’t throw it away after a fifty, he ensured he made the most of this solid start and remained unconquered till the end of the day. Bangladesh bowlers did play the waiting game, but didn’t manage to conquer Brathwaite. He stitched two crucial partnerships of 100 and 50 plus with Smith and Powell respectively. Powell and Smith also did well in playing the deliveries on merit.
Brathwaite didn’t live up to the expectations in the recently concluded series against Sri Lanka, scoring just a solitary fifty in six innings. He was in desperate need of a big innings under his belt and this Test was an ideal opportunity for him to do so. West Indies have a golden opportunity of winning this game by an innings and take a 1-0 lead, in order to do so they will need a massive first innings total. Brathwaite’s primary target would be to get to the 100-run milestone and then convert it into a daddy hundred.
In 48 games so far, Brathwaite averages 37.41, but has shown immense maturity and promise. With age being on his side, one can only expect him to get better. Consistency is where he needs to pull up on. Day 2 will resume with the ball being in West Indies’ court and Brathwaite in command. It will be interesting to see how big a lead they managed to gain at the end of their first innings.