Brathwaite silent on struggling Samuels
West Indies opener Kraigg Brathwaite has plenty to say about his batting, his doughty 85 on the first day of the SCG Test, his development on this tour, and the prospect of bowling on a turning Sydney pitch. He has nothing at all to say about, or for, Marlon Samuels.
In a telling interlude as Brathwaite spoke about how he has evolved as a batsman on this trip, becoming more proactive to counter Australia's bowlers rather than simply trying to wait them out, he became decidedly tight-lipped about Samuels, the run-out they were involved in, and the older man's contribution to the tour.
It may well have been a case of if you've got nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all, for Samuels has endured a wretched tour, notching a meagre 35 runs in five innings - an average of seven for those not paying attention - and earning plenty of criticism for his apparent lack of verve in the field. At the time of the run-out, which was Samuels' call, West Indies were in a decent position. After it, they subsided to 6 for 207.
"I think those things happen in cricket. I'm not sure what to say about that," Brathwaite said. "It was just a misunderstanding."
Queried further on Samuels' contribution this tour, Brathwaite clammed up. "There's not much I can say about that at the moment," he said. A further question to that effect drew a similar response from the team media manager.
What was left to discuss was an innings that impressed many, lacking only the catharsis of reaching three figures after Nathan Lyon finally found a way to confound Brathwaite's previously sure feet and sound mind. "It is a good challenge," Brathwaite said of Lyon. "I think he is bowling quite well and I just have to keep believing in my ability. They fielded well today and for me it is about trusting my defence and working towards my plan.
"It is a tour where I am learning and I just want to keep going out there and building a foundation for my team and learning in the process. On a first-day pitch that is spinning like that, once we get a score, anything about 300 will put ourselves in a good position.
"I think the spinners bowled well, it is just about trusting your defence and backing your shots and you can score. Coming from the last game, when the guys showed some improvement, it is key to keep showing that improvement and supporting one another."
As for the pitch, Brathwaite was surprised by how much deviation it offered, but was eager to see how his team might fare on it - and how he might bowl on it. "I was quite surprised, I didn't expect the first day to spin like that," he said. "I heard it can spin here but I didn't expect that.
"So as batters, once we put some runs on the board, we can put some pressure on Australia. It is important when we do bowl that we string those dots together because dots balls can build pressure and that brings wickets. I will be looking forward to [bowling]. We will just have to see what happens."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig