West Indies in Australia / News

Australia v West Indies, 2nd Test, Hobart

Lara's advice helped - Bravo

Peter English at Hobart

November 20, 2005

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Dwayne Bravo en route to his superb century © Getty Images
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Remembering spin tips from Brian Lara settled Dwayne Bravo as he produced the innings of his career against Australia. Bravo's first day bat-pad dismissal to Stuart MacGill was playing on his mind when he walked out with West Indies in desperate trouble at 5 for 133, but the upshot of flashbacks from a conversation in Lara's hotel room was a superb 113 that pushed his side to a 77-run lead.

Omitted for the first Test, Bravo and his former Trinidad youth team-mate Denesh Ramdin combined for a 182-run partnership to frustrate Australia's easy push for victory and give West Indies hope that they have unearthed a couple of long-term talents. While the team's top order had crumbled for a third time, the pair first stabilised the innings and then set about cancelling Australia's hefty advantage.

Bravo, 22, began patiently and slowly gained the confidence to use his feet to Stuart MacGill and Shane Warne in a 203-ball innings that was easily the most impressive of his seven-Test career. "This one has got to be it," he said. "Batting against the best team in the world, they have four top-class bowlers and batting all day I never felt set."

The wicket was encouraging both legspinners and Bravo felt uncomfortable until he recalled Lara teaching him how to sweep and telling him he didn't have to play every ball pitched outside leg stump. "After I got out [in the first innings] I went up to Brian's room and he gave me a few tips," he said. "He's the best batsman in world when spin is concerned and it flashed back in my mind so I decided to be more positive and believe in myself."

Both young players were buoyed by Trinidad and Tobago's successful push to the Football World Cup this week and Bravo dedicated his century to the team. Bravo also had a message for Ramdin when he walked out, telling him not to let the attack control them, and they chipped away throughout each session until Ramdin fell to MacGill for 71.

"We both played together at youth level so we have an understanding," he said. "When I would go through a bad patch Denesh would take over and vice versa. We have made a good start and hopefully have a good career ahead of us, but we don't want to get complacent. Our goal is to play for 14 or 15 years and ensure that when Brian and Shiv [Chanderpaul] and the senior guys move on we can turn things around."

Bravo said the Australians "chipped away and carried on" while he batted but he didn't reply to their verbal barbs, and he also revealed he had been hindered by a rotator cuff injury that restricted his bowling load in the nets. "They didn't distract me from what I wanted to do," he said, "and I just stayed quiet."

West Indies are still looking at a heavy series defeat tomorrow and Bravo said they could turn the corner if they found a successful habit. "When we lose we look at each other and wonder what to do next because West Indies have been on the down for a good while," he said. "We just can't find a way to win."

Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo.

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