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

We decided to play our strokes - Darren Bravo

28

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

  • simonviller 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 .

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Mani_CricketFan 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).

  • satish619chandar 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!!

  • mrgupta 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.

  • 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.

  • on November 18, 2011, 3:57 GMT

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

  • 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.

  • avmd 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

  • simonviller 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 .

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Mani_CricketFan 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).

  • satish619chandar 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!!

  • mrgupta 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.

  • 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.

  • on November 18, 2011, 3:57 GMT

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

  • 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.

  • avmd 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

  • on November 18, 2011, 2:08 GMT

    It was a decisive batting improvement, nay a transformation in batting attitude in the second innings. WI seemed to have captured the core of Test batting precepts, disciplined patience combined with a contained aggression aimed at a clear-headed desire to move the score.

    Its rare to see a visiting team adapt to conditions in the middle of a game. Indians couldn't do it the whole series in England. Unlike the West Indians, they were a broken and demoralized lot half way through there.

    I can see this WI team moving up a couple of notches as I am sure that Barath, K. Edwards, D. Bravo and Samuels will definitely try to emulate the example consistently set by Chanderpaul.

    In the immediate context, I can see them get at least a draw in Mumbai. So much for batting, I feel they are clearly outplayed in the spin bowling department. Indians now look a different and an immensely improved fielding side; great.

    Umesh Yadav make me delightfully say, eureka! A new Kapil?

  • on November 17, 2011, 23:34 GMT

    West Indies really need some shining young stars. I was born in the 80s and have witnessed only the waning of the might of the Windies. There is obviously a lot of passion for cricket in the Caribbean as we see from Sammy and co. but there is a serious lack of structure and professionalism. I hope Bravo with the help of other flamboyant stroke makers can help restore that old charm.

  • Silloh on November 17, 2011, 22:56 GMT

    Well fone Darren Bravo. Pity the team could not go on to at least draw the match. You are quite capable of moving to be another great batsman. Learn from your mistakes and keep one foot on the ground.

  • zico123 on November 17, 2011, 20:59 GMT

    India should play Rahane at no. 3 by resting Dravid or lasman and Kohli or Rohit at no. 6, should play Varun Aaron by resting Ishant in 3rd test match against WI

  • blackie on November 17, 2011, 20:49 GMT

    As I read the above comments, I am hoping that the ones who seem not to want Bravo compared to Lara are not West Indians. After all, we need more Laras in Windies cricket. Even though i am not one for accolades after just a few good performances, India is regarded by many non indian cricketers as the toughest place to play. The only other frontier to conquer is England and the swinging ball. And by the way, we have modern day cricketers who compare favourably with Lara's record just without the 501 or 400. In fact some have better averages and some even have more centuries that Lara does. Lara was really great and his batting caused me to become quite excited on more than one occasion but he also shone as bright as he did because they were so many dim lights in Windies team. Compare his record with modern players Ponting, Tendulkar, Kallis, Sangakara, G Smith, Gilchrist, Peterson, Sehwag, Dravid, S Waugh, Jayawardene (once scored 374), Hussey, M Yousuf, Y Khan, Hayden.

  • Nampally on November 17, 2011, 20:36 GMT

    Eden Garden wicket behaved very strangely. While most pitches in the world get worse with wear & tear,the Eden garden wicket got better for batting than what it was on Day 1 . No wonder both Ashwin & ojha could not repeat their wicket taking ability on this batting paradise. WI also utilised the conditions by improved patience. Bravo says they decided to play strokes. But the is that WI batsmen could play strokes because of slow and placid pitch. There was very little spin or bounce in the pitch resulting in ball coming at predictable height and pace all the time. So in a bowlers' nightmare conditions, the Indian bowlers did well to clinch the issue.However full credit to WI batsmen to compile a big total and make a fight of it.Bravo was outstanding. Yadev bowled very well to take 4 wkts. while Ishant chipped in with 2.India missed an easy chance to run out Bravo by yards when Gambhir made a wild throw. This batting should give WI lot of confidence, albeit defeated, for third test.

  • on November 17, 2011, 20:05 GMT

    I hope the West Indian Cricket Board is hold to account for the West Indian performance lately. Not to discredit the team on the current tour, it's quite obvious that the services of Chris Gayle, Sulieman Benn and Dwayne Bravo could have brought the balance between the teams and India would have had a challenge to dismantle West Indies. Indians bowling attack is quite inexperience and to have the above mentioned players on the sidelines cannot go unnoticed from the West Indies point of view. I hope cricket doesn't suffer due to the alleged - from their board - inappropriate behavior amongst these players of which I believe could be resolved in close doors between the parties concerned. I believe no one is bigger than the game and sensitive matters need to be address to avoid the game of cricket being compromised. From an observer that is worried about West Indian cricket

  • WICric101 on November 17, 2011, 18:37 GMT

    Bravo will never be Lara but he will make a mark in int cric, he has the talent also look out for K Edwards,Barath,Bishoo,Russell & S Narine..these are the future stars, hope ppl with intrest in WI cric take note and mold them(plz dont let dem fall away)

  • cricketdebator on November 17, 2011, 18:33 GMT

    Darren Bravo!!!! What can I saw about this young guy??? Simply, He's one hell of a batsman. His supreme confidence. His wide range of strokes, and all at a tender age of just 22 years. In his short career so far (12 tests) he has probably stroke more sixes than most great batmen before him did at the corresponding time of their career. Another interesting statistic is that Lara's first century came at age 25. Bravo at 22, already has 2 centuries. It is really exciting to imagine what this guy is likely to achieve in the future. I can only wish him well and hope that he remains fit and have a long and successful career. The world of cricket is in need of young exciting lalent, and Darren Bravo is on track to deliver just that.

  • mrmonty on November 17, 2011, 18:12 GMT

    Until he scores in all conditions and all situations, let's tone down the comparisons. As of right now he is just a pretender.

  • theRule19 on November 17, 2011, 18:04 GMT

    Good application shown by Bravo, but to early to be compared to the great Lara. If he continues to take time at the crease and settles down, he can achieve what the greats have achieved and bring WI team a solid middle order player.

  • on November 17, 2011, 16:22 GMT

    He really is an impressive youngster in cricket world.. all the best Bravo .....

  • vikram1705 on November 17, 2011, 15:41 GMT

    Oh man! That was the best century with great cricketing shots I have witnessed in a while. The era of elegence is coming back with Bravo. He is a treat to watch. Couple of his cover drives were as good as we will ever see. Comparisons with the greatest left hander are not unfounded. Bravo plays like him and is also trying to emulate lara's exploits with the bat. If he stays focussed like this, he will be the darling of the purists. Sachin must have felt something in you when he congratulated you on reaching your hundred. Take this compliment and stay level headed as sachin has successfully done for twenty years. Runs will follow. I hope you do not prove to be another Carl Hooper.

  • mits6 on November 17, 2011, 15:36 GMT

    Well played.......... ....Bravo

  • mgzak on November 17, 2011, 15:30 GMT

    He might look like Lara, he might play some shots like Lara and his antics might be similar to Lara's.....but bat like Lara he cannot. The comparisons end there. There is only one Lara and his name is Brian Charles. Players like him come around every 100 yrs.

  • on November 17, 2011, 15:27 GMT

    maybe not so distant future...he can lead which will allow selectors not to pick sammy there by restricting the chance of getting a good bowler in to the improving windies side

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 17, 2011, 14:47 GMT

    Wow! What an innings of controlled aggression! It's so refreshing to see an inning of such supreme quality from our young visitor. Take a bow to this awesome talent. He just needs a little bit more of temperament and he is all set. He seems to get into some kind of brain freeze from time to time and hangs his bat way outside his off-stump or plays a risky shot. If the rub of green doesn't go your way at those critical moments, you will lose your wicket. You might have made a century or a fifty by that time but your untimely dismissals will not help your team. Just imagine what if Barath got to a century and you got to a 175+ score in this recent test match. Things would have been so different for you all. Just make sure that you will be the last man to get dismissed. Your batting has been a topclass after-school special session regarding controlled aggression. Thanks much for your brilliant batting. It's been a privilege to watch you bat.

  • on November 17, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    Well....Darren Bravo has arrived!!!!! this century of Bravo in trying conditions & quality bowling attack has shown what is going to be delivered by him in the years to come.... resemblance in playing style with B.C.Lara, the Greatest Batsmen of all times is a huge plus point for him to excel...wish him god luck in the years to come... KUDOS to Bravo for entertain us in the same way as LARA.....

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  • on November 17, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    Well....Darren Bravo has arrived!!!!! this century of Bravo in trying conditions & quality bowling attack has shown what is going to be delivered by him in the years to come.... resemblance in playing style with B.C.Lara, the Greatest Batsmen of all times is a huge plus point for him to excel...wish him god luck in the years to come... KUDOS to Bravo for entertain us in the same way as LARA.....

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 17, 2011, 14:47 GMT

    Wow! What an innings of controlled aggression! It's so refreshing to see an inning of such supreme quality from our young visitor. Take a bow to this awesome talent. He just needs a little bit more of temperament and he is all set. He seems to get into some kind of brain freeze from time to time and hangs his bat way outside his off-stump or plays a risky shot. If the rub of green doesn't go your way at those critical moments, you will lose your wicket. You might have made a century or a fifty by that time but your untimely dismissals will not help your team. Just imagine what if Barath got to a century and you got to a 175+ score in this recent test match. Things would have been so different for you all. Just make sure that you will be the last man to get dismissed. Your batting has been a topclass after-school special session regarding controlled aggression. Thanks much for your brilliant batting. It's been a privilege to watch you bat.

  • on November 17, 2011, 15:27 GMT

    maybe not so distant future...he can lead which will allow selectors not to pick sammy there by restricting the chance of getting a good bowler in to the improving windies side

  • mgzak on November 17, 2011, 15:30 GMT

    He might look like Lara, he might play some shots like Lara and his antics might be similar to Lara's.....but bat like Lara he cannot. The comparisons end there. There is only one Lara and his name is Brian Charles. Players like him come around every 100 yrs.

  • mits6 on November 17, 2011, 15:36 GMT

    Well played.......... ....Bravo

  • vikram1705 on November 17, 2011, 15:41 GMT

    Oh man! That was the best century with great cricketing shots I have witnessed in a while. The era of elegence is coming back with Bravo. He is a treat to watch. Couple of his cover drives were as good as we will ever see. Comparisons with the greatest left hander are not unfounded. Bravo plays like him and is also trying to emulate lara's exploits with the bat. If he stays focussed like this, he will be the darling of the purists. Sachin must have felt something in you when he congratulated you on reaching your hundred. Take this compliment and stay level headed as sachin has successfully done for twenty years. Runs will follow. I hope you do not prove to be another Carl Hooper.

  • on November 17, 2011, 16:22 GMT

    He really is an impressive youngster in cricket world.. all the best Bravo .....

  • theRule19 on November 17, 2011, 18:04 GMT

    Good application shown by Bravo, but to early to be compared to the great Lara. If he continues to take time at the crease and settles down, he can achieve what the greats have achieved and bring WI team a solid middle order player.

  • mrmonty on November 17, 2011, 18:12 GMT

    Until he scores in all conditions and all situations, let's tone down the comparisons. As of right now he is just a pretender.

  • cricketdebator on November 17, 2011, 18:33 GMT

    Darren Bravo!!!! What can I saw about this young guy??? Simply, He's one hell of a batsman. His supreme confidence. His wide range of strokes, and all at a tender age of just 22 years. In his short career so far (12 tests) he has probably stroke more sixes than most great batmen before him did at the corresponding time of their career. Another interesting statistic is that Lara's first century came at age 25. Bravo at 22, already has 2 centuries. It is really exciting to imagine what this guy is likely to achieve in the future. I can only wish him well and hope that he remains fit and have a long and successful career. The world of cricket is in need of young exciting lalent, and Darren Bravo is on track to deliver just that.