India v West Indies, 2nd Test, Kolkata, 4th day November 17, 2011

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."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • charlie on November 20, 2011, 3:58 GMT

    Let's not give all the credit to Bravo ,as good as he was ,but also to Barath and K.Edwards . Edwards especially ,a guy playing only in his first few test matches has two centuries and a string of decent scores ;and that's after coming in to bat with West Indies in the worse situation possible ,to dig in time and again to pull them out of those situations . I hope that the time will come soon when this changes for him ,so he could bat with less pressure .

  • Dummy4 on November 19, 2011, 17:33 GMT

    I am requesting one small favour from the selectors. Please play the foll. bowlers for the 3rd test, Ravi, Fidel, Roach & Bishoo. At least give our team that glimmer of hope for a victory. India will prepare s/thing for Umesh, our boys r better than him, we can cash in. Give Sammy & Baugh a rest & ask Ramdhin to capt the team. Our batters r coming around. We have absolutely nothing to lose, not even the test. We need to try something different, & who knows.

  • Dummy4 on November 18, 2011, 11:20 GMT

    A good win but the way WI batted that prooved indian fast bowling still need to improve and yuvraj he should play third test n then selector's need to decide his future after this series, and varun must play third test instead of ishant he is the only bowler in ind can bowl over 145 speed, definatly he'll do well.

  • Manish on November 18, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    Wrong move by BCCI. Yuvraj haven't got enough chances, whereas other team members are getting enough chances. Even Sachin Tendulkar also struggled when he first started playing. MS Dhoni also doesn't perform much with the bat. So he should also be dropped. He isn't dropped just because he is a captain. Go ahead BCCI, make Yuvraj the captain then, and he will get enough chances in test matches because he can play continuously for 2 years then because of captaincy. Poor move by BCCI and MS Dhoni (who doesn't perform on foreign pitches).

  • Satish on November 18, 2011, 5:48 GMT

    Nice innings to watch from Bravo and well supported by almost everyone.. Hope they show this mettle in first innings of next test.. First innings from first test and second innings from second test would be perfect to happen in same match for the WI!!

  • Mradul on November 18, 2011, 4:03 GMT

    @zico123: Though i can understand why you want so many changes in the team you should also be aware that winning a test is very important too. We cannot simply play the players to give them match practice for Aus tour by playing them in a test. The tour Practice matches are meant for that purpose and resting Dravid/Lax, Yuvi and Ishant all at the same time might backfire. Our first aim should be to win this series by 3-0 before thinking abt Aussie tour. We can test these player in the ODI format.

  • Dummy4 on November 18, 2011, 3:59 GMT

    Ian Bell is currently the best player in world cricket (yes, the stats do back it up) but look how long it took him to get there. At 22, if Darren Bravo can handle the pressure of playing in a weak team and keeps working hard he could be a great, great player. My feeling is that there is a changing of the guard in order. West Indies have some good youngsters coming through and while they're not likely to be world beaters any time soon within a couple of years they could be far from the whipping boys they have been of late.

  • Dummy4 on November 18, 2011, 3:57 GMT

    I don't think that Brian Lara would mind if Darren Bravo outshone him.

  • Dummy4 on November 18, 2011, 2:20 GMT

    I am glad that WI has some stars to depend on in the future. They are young, and inexperienced. They will find their feet soon. Gayle and Sarwan to return to the line up would have been a bigger boost but at least their issues gave these guys a start. I find that their bowling dept is what needs a lot of improvement. Edwards and Roach are fast but they need to find a good rhythm and sound bowling to a plan which would make them really tough. I hope they fight even better in the future.

  • Avais on November 18, 2011, 2:13 GMT

    Bravo certainly has the skill and all the shots. What makes a player a very good one is the self confidence. When you are part of a good team, confidence comes easy. Lara was part of a very good WI team in his early days. Great credit goes to Bravo for shining while part of not so great team. Batting condition were difficult and bowling, particularly spin was top class at Calcuatta and it was a class inning. I will not be surprised if him, Umar and Kohli were the top batsmen in 2-3 years times

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