We decided to play our strokes - Darren Bravo
West Indies may have lost the Eden Gardens Test by an innings, but they restored a fair bit of pride with a second-innings display that combined grit and flamboyance. No-one exemplified that better than Darren Bravo, whose stylish 136 was the fulcrum of the resistance. But for his dismissal soon after lunch, West Indies might even have forced India to bat again, despite following on 478 behind.
"In the second innings, we decided to come together as a team, play our strokes and express ourselves in the best possible way," Bravo said. "The guys played pretty well. It was good to see Adrian [Barath] and Kirk [Edwards] bat well at the top of the order, and Marlon Samuels later. It's good to know that it is not just [Shivnarine] Chanderpaul that we can depend on to get the big scores."
Bravo got his first Test century in Bangladesh last month, but satisfaction at following that with a century in conditions that have tested some illustrious batsmen was tinged with the disappointment of an innings defeat. "It's obviously a sad feeling because it was not enough. Making India bat again was an uphill task, but we have our heads held high after our performance in the second innings."
After 12 Tests, Bravo has the same number of runs (941) at the same average (47.05) as Brian Charles Lara, his mother's cousin, did after the same number of games. The similarities are obvious, especially in the way he caresses the ball through cover or thumps it over long-on with a flourish. Far from being irritated by the comparisons, Bravo said he was "honoured". "He is definitely my role model. I play my natural game and look something like Lara but nevertheless I know that emulating him will be difficult - to achieve what he has achieved. Hopefully, I will finish with the sort of record that some of the great players have."
Batting alongside Chanderpaul - they added 108 - gave him confidence, but the big difference came in the shape of technical adjustments he made after twin failures in Delhi. "Before this Test match, I played with my bat along the pad in the nets [to avoid the lbw]," he said. "I have been trying to get my bat in front of the pad as much as possible."
Two hundreds in less than a month also owed much, he said, to improved concentration. "I remembered something my brother [Dwayne Bravo] told me - that when you get the first century, the second and third will come much easier than the first. That is something that I kept very close to me."
The series may be gone, but according to Bravo, if West Indies could "eradicate" a tendency to lose wickets in clusters, they were capable of giving India a hard game in Mumbai. "I think it is difficult, but we will play with a lot of pride and passion. We know what went wrong with our performance in the first match and here, so our preparations will be better. If not a victory, it will be a great chance for us as a team to deliver."