India v West Indies, 3rd Test, Mumbai, 2nd day November 23, 2011

Sublime Bravo makes India pay

S Aga
48

You know the dice are loaded in favour of batsmen when a bowler that's taken four wickets in the innings speaks of feeling 'cheated' at the lack of bounce on offer. That said, few expected a West Indies batting line-up missing its only experienced campaigner - Shivnarine Chanderpaul - to make India toil more than six sessions to dismiss them. But with Darren Bravo crafting a marvellous 166 and sterling support from Kirk Edwards, Kieran Powell and Marlon Samuels, the hosts were left to play catch-up all day.

Bravo was reprieved on the first evening when he had 33 - a low chance to Rahul Dravid's left at slip - and India were given ample time to regret that lapse as he continued his stupendous form on this tour of the subcontinent. In Kolkata, his 136 had been about saving face. Here, having come in after the openers gave the team a tremendous start, he could set the tempo. "Once he's set, he can be an ominous batsman to bowl to," said R Ashwin, who spent much of the press conference speaking about the "disheartening" nature of a pitch that he once thought of as the "most sporting in India".

Having fallen for 195 in Bangladesh, it appeared as though a double-century was on the cards for Bravo when he had a swipe at a Varun Aaron delivery that angled across him. "I became a little tired," he said. "I've had a bit of flu and that took its toll on me."

Till then, though, he had seldom been troubled, unveiling some lovely drives and whiplash cuts when the opportunity presented itself. Ashwin kept offering the bait outside off stump, but he was seldom tempted. When the ball pitched in line, he made sure the bat was well in front of pad.

Once they survived the second new ball, he and Edwards piled on the agony, one all left-handed elegance and the other a muscular right-hander with a no-nonsense style that reminded some of Clive Lloyd.

Powell was no less impressive, announcing his intent with an audacious loft down to the sightscreen. At one point, he had 28 from 28 balls and it needed a superb afternoon spell from Aaron to drag the hosts back into the game.

"Kirk's finding his feet in the international game," said Bravo. "He and I have a good understanding when we bat together." Their cause was undoubtedly helped by a sizeable opening partnership. "We just had to continue where they left off," said Bravo.

Having lost two Tests as a result of poor shot selection and losing wickets in clusters, West Indies will look at this scorecard with great satisfaction. Bravo stole the headlines, prompting more Brian Lara comparisons, but over six sessions, five others also stood tall and ensured that they were counted.

Bravo and West Indies now find themselves in a position from where they can dictate terms. "We'll go out there with high energy and see what our fast bowlers can do," he said, looking ahead to the prospect of an all-too-rare victory away from home. "It's a decent batting wicket, but there's a bit of turn. It played much better today. If you apply yourself, there are runs to be had."

Bravo illustrated that, with a fluency and swagger that suggested we should see a lot more of him in the years to come.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • LeftBrain on November 24, 2011, 21:44 GMT

    @sunnynkfact, forget about alltime great bowlers, no Indian bowler was ever good enough to be the best bowling attack of his own era, let alone all time. Reason, they dont have talent, its a plain and simple fact. If you look at alltime highest team and individual scores and partnerships, you will find most of them are against India. Indian batsemn on the other hand are talented, and most of the time lucky as they play most of their cricket on pitches where even WI can score 590!!!

  • anver777 on November 24, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    Wi scored a huge 590 courtesy Bravo & the top order.......i think Sammy is playing a safe game here, actually he could have declared & given atleast 15 overs to bat & put some sort of pressure on Ind....but now surely this is heading for a tame draw !!!

  • JustIPL on November 24, 2011, 7:52 GMT

    Windies have built on the confidence since giving tough time to the champions of that time from where headed for a whitewash in england. Then last tour of bandgladesh gave them much needed warmup before the took on bowling lineup battered by England. In west indies they did it without gayle and now they have done it without the big three and Bravo as well. Wel done west indies.

  • on November 24, 2011, 7:42 GMT

    I don't think WI are really playing to win this match. They should have declared last evening and would have been in much better situation. But I think they were looking for a position from where they can't be defeated.

  • analyseabhishek on November 24, 2011, 7:08 GMT

    If this was the booster to the WI cricket, then I wont mind it even as an Indian fan! Hope this gives thm the confidence about tackling further challenges in the future. Their reluctance to give India a few over last evening was criticised but perhaps you can only do so much at one time! Next time they would surely do it!

  • sunnynkfact on November 24, 2011, 6:49 GMT

    i just find out, how long India is playing cricket?, no Indian bowler made it into all time best TEST or ODI bowler, anyone tell me why is that?

  • itisme on November 24, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    @karn - hey, why are you so upset? just because someone dared to say that Bravo is better than Sachin? Come on. Bravo may not be better than Sachin, but surely there have been and there will be better batsmen than Sachin. Have the courage to accept the truth.

  • stormy16 on November 24, 2011, 6:13 GMT

    How good is this guy Bravo - not many batsman come to India and reel off hundreds on their first tour. I have no idea how he is against fast bowling but his debut series against SL he made an impact and has built on since. Someone said players like Lara come once in a lifetime but this guy has already shown plenty to get excited about. Also folks need to stop compairing every WI team to team of the 80's and every fast bowler to Holding and Marshal. That's also one in a life time and there havent been too many bowlers like that after the 80's in any team. The Australians have shown that you dont need four super fast bowlers to dominate the game for a long time and with a few spinners comming out of WI may be its time to start looking at the WI with a different perspective and not just compare to the 80's WI all the time.

  • thebarmyarmy on November 24, 2011, 5:33 GMT

    Im sorry but how can anyone get excited about playing in India. These huge scoring games are bad for test cricket. Rubbish.

  • SamRoy on November 24, 2011, 4:36 GMT

    @RandyOZ Maybe, maybe not! But one thing I must tell you between 2002 and 2006 there were no great bowling line ups (except Australia's) and Ricky Thomas Ponting shown only during that period! Even Sangakkara is better than him. In the last 20 years it has been Lara > Sachin > Kallis > Sangakkara > Ponting > the rest. This is the best batsmen list not the most feared batsmen list. That list goes as such Sehwag > Gilchrist > the rest.

  • LeftBrain on November 24, 2011, 21:44 GMT

    @sunnynkfact, forget about alltime great bowlers, no Indian bowler was ever good enough to be the best bowling attack of his own era, let alone all time. Reason, they dont have talent, its a plain and simple fact. If you look at alltime highest team and individual scores and partnerships, you will find most of them are against India. Indian batsemn on the other hand are talented, and most of the time lucky as they play most of their cricket on pitches where even WI can score 590!!!

  • anver777 on November 24, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    Wi scored a huge 590 courtesy Bravo & the top order.......i think Sammy is playing a safe game here, actually he could have declared & given atleast 15 overs to bat & put some sort of pressure on Ind....but now surely this is heading for a tame draw !!!

  • JustIPL on November 24, 2011, 7:52 GMT

    Windies have built on the confidence since giving tough time to the champions of that time from where headed for a whitewash in england. Then last tour of bandgladesh gave them much needed warmup before the took on bowling lineup battered by England. In west indies they did it without gayle and now they have done it without the big three and Bravo as well. Wel done west indies.

  • on November 24, 2011, 7:42 GMT

    I don't think WI are really playing to win this match. They should have declared last evening and would have been in much better situation. But I think they were looking for a position from where they can't be defeated.

  • analyseabhishek on November 24, 2011, 7:08 GMT

    If this was the booster to the WI cricket, then I wont mind it even as an Indian fan! Hope this gives thm the confidence about tackling further challenges in the future. Their reluctance to give India a few over last evening was criticised but perhaps you can only do so much at one time! Next time they would surely do it!

  • sunnynkfact on November 24, 2011, 6:49 GMT

    i just find out, how long India is playing cricket?, no Indian bowler made it into all time best TEST or ODI bowler, anyone tell me why is that?

  • itisme on November 24, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    @karn - hey, why are you so upset? just because someone dared to say that Bravo is better than Sachin? Come on. Bravo may not be better than Sachin, but surely there have been and there will be better batsmen than Sachin. Have the courage to accept the truth.

  • stormy16 on November 24, 2011, 6:13 GMT

    How good is this guy Bravo - not many batsman come to India and reel off hundreds on their first tour. I have no idea how he is against fast bowling but his debut series against SL he made an impact and has built on since. Someone said players like Lara come once in a lifetime but this guy has already shown plenty to get excited about. Also folks need to stop compairing every WI team to team of the 80's and every fast bowler to Holding and Marshal. That's also one in a life time and there havent been too many bowlers like that after the 80's in any team. The Australians have shown that you dont need four super fast bowlers to dominate the game for a long time and with a few spinners comming out of WI may be its time to start looking at the WI with a different perspective and not just compare to the 80's WI all the time.

  • thebarmyarmy on November 24, 2011, 5:33 GMT

    Im sorry but how can anyone get excited about playing in India. These huge scoring games are bad for test cricket. Rubbish.

  • SamRoy on November 24, 2011, 4:36 GMT

    @RandyOZ Maybe, maybe not! But one thing I must tell you between 2002 and 2006 there were no great bowling line ups (except Australia's) and Ricky Thomas Ponting shown only during that period! Even Sangakkara is better than him. In the last 20 years it has been Lara > Sachin > Kallis > Sangakkara > Ponting > the rest. This is the best batsmen list not the most feared batsmen list. That list goes as such Sehwag > Gilchrist > the rest.

  • pradeep_dealwis on November 24, 2011, 4:13 GMT

    WI have some good talent coming up. The future looks bright if the management properly grooms this young team!

  • skepticaloptimist on November 24, 2011, 2:46 GMT

    @RandyOZ - Yup, he's better than Lara, Sachin, Bradman, Ponting, Kallis, and Sobers; I don't think he has bowled yet, but I assert he's orders of magnitude better than Akram, McGrath, Warne, Murli, and Walsh. The best thing about him is that he also keeps--and that too better than Gilly ever was. Kudos to him! Apparently, he's also omnipresent so he can bowl and keep simultaneously. What a player!

  • simonviller on November 24, 2011, 2:42 GMT

    To Ashwin ! You are having an excellent series against the West Indies ,enjoy it this time around ,for it's not always going to be this way in future . You have an important tour coming up in Australia ,you look forward to that . Good luck with the fleet-footed Ponting and the boys ,because they'll be in your face before you know it . Those men around the bat ,works for this young team ,but will it for the men from down under ? Good luck to you however, when that time comes .

  • on November 24, 2011, 2:17 GMT

    @ LeftBrain... WI are ranked 7th in tests 0 Ahead of New Zealand, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

  • theRule19 on November 24, 2011, 1:40 GMT

    Dont think WI will win cause Indian batting is yet to come also there wont be enough time to bowl out India twice. Most likely result hence is a draw.

  • on November 24, 2011, 1:12 GMT

    It would be great if the West Indies could build on this. World cricket has been waiting for a West Indian revival for a long time. However there have been many false dawns along the way. Too many batsmen have shone briefly and then faded away. It is not fair to compare Bravo to Lara though, he looks a great prospect but a batsman like Lara comes along once in a lifetime. The bowlers need to be more consistent and the current crop look far short of the bowlers of the caliber of Holding, Marshall, Roberts and co. Still great things begin with small steps so as an Indian I will keep my fingers crossed for West Indies cricket and wish then all the best.

  • on November 24, 2011, 1:11 GMT

    Well done guys. Congrats. Lets fire them out tomorrow, enforce the follow-on and see if we can pull a much deserved and needed win for all West Indies fans. Good luck tomorrow.

  • montys_muse on November 24, 2011, 0:50 GMT

    The West Indies future is looking really bright, they have a good blend of young batsmen and bowlers. Only if they can sort out their issues with the management or vice-versa, they can turn into a fiercely competitive unit...

  • RandyOZ on November 23, 2011, 23:00 GMT

    This guy is already way better than Sachin ever was.

  • on November 23, 2011, 22:47 GMT

    Excellent performance by the batters, but i cannot understand why the didn't attack 8 overs at the end and declared, let India bat a few. Dhoni said the ball usually swing in the morning and maybe that is the reason. But WI Camp definitly have it wrong, i would be surprise if India make 500 and declareand try to win.Unless something dramatic happened i don't see WI winning.

  • on November 23, 2011, 22:14 GMT

    West Indies management blundered. They should have declared right after Samuels got his 50 at over number 173.5. 5 to 6 overs against tired openers was a missed opportunity! Maybe they plan to bat in the morning!!

  • LeftBrain on November 23, 2011, 21:38 GMT

    Well played Bravo, well played West Indies. This is indeed a great performance from a 9th ranked team against a so-called "top tier team". And this score line is also a testimny of how ineffective, impotent and ridiculusly talentless Indan bowling attack is...... India has to be the most one dmensional team int he world with only batsmen with any technique or talent waht so ever. rest of the departments are as good as Zimbabwe or Irelands.

  • on November 23, 2011, 21:26 GMT

    First captains, now all players are complaining about pitches? Don't expect tailor-made pitches every time Ashwin, focus on your bowling and let Dhoni do the griping.

  • MasterClass on November 23, 2011, 21:19 GMT

    The most likely result of this test match is going to be a West Indies victory. The burden of runs will weigh heavily on the Indian batsman and there's only so much that an old and aging batting lineup can withstand . I don't expect that the Indian batsman will make enough runs to avoid the follow on.

  • Mayfield on November 23, 2011, 21:13 GMT

    I have said previously that the WI team is moving in the right direction. Gibson and the board has come under heavy criticism, but the many detractors will get on board when this team is molded and shaped into the finished product. Bravo, Edwards, Barath, Brathwaite, Powell,Bishoo, Rampaul, Roach, Holder, Gabriel, Pascal, Narine, etc will form the nucleus. I remember when posters were putting down K. Edwards and stating that he couldn't bat and did not deserve a place. In six test he has 2 centries and 3 fifties. Samuels has 2-100s in 36 matches. If you look at Edwards and Samuels, its obvious Samuels is more classy and gifted. So why has he been so unproductive? The answer is discipline, hard work and dedication. This is exactly what Gibson is trying to instill in this team and instead of being lauded, he is being castigated. WI has always had talented players, CGayle,DBravo,RSarwa, et al. The problem has been exactly what Gibson is trying to instill. Gibson and WICB will b vindicated

  • simonviller on November 23, 2011, 21:09 GMT

    @ Sammy ! As an integral part of the team ,you have to take advantage of the batting help in camp ,to improve on you batting performance . While I support you otherwise ,your need to improve in this area . 518/5 to 575/9 on a good wicket ;not good enough . As to Carlton Baugh ; he needs to go down to the minor leagues to learn to bat at test level . We cannot afford to carry a non-productive keeper with the bat , when we can do much better . Is it not the same reason why we replaced Ramadin ,who is now ready to take his rightful place after remedial action ?

  • theRule19 on November 23, 2011, 20:50 GMT

    Another good performance by Bravo, now WI batting future does look in good hands considering batsmen like Powell, Barath, Edwards and Samuels although improving.

  • simonviller on November 23, 2011, 20:46 GMT

    To Whom It May Concern ! You talk about "the steady rise of Marlon Samuels ",but this guy owes West Indies a truck load of runs for the chances he had . Furthermore ,he should be leading the charge amongst the youngsters ,but instead he is down the order away from the pressure . You for whatever reason ,chose not to mention Kirk Edwards ,who has a phenomenal average ,with exceptional performances throughout his short career and that's after holding the top and middle batting together ,to set the stage for the others . APARENTLY YOU HAVE NOT BEEN FOLLWING W.I CRICKET VERY MUCH .

  • nyc_missile on November 23, 2011, 20:18 GMT

    @Karthik, not sure if we will even get close to 600 given how reckless Sehwag has become of late! You know very well what follows next, a dull and excruciating spell of batting from Sachin,Dravid & Laxman i suspect and nowhere from there.I predict a WI win if India avoid follow on..

  • on November 23, 2011, 19:22 GMT

    Bravo's batting is a refreshing sight. The guy has what it takes to be a star player. 17 sixes in 12tests. 166,no sixes. that is a conscious player, he is aware of the situation. Not forgetting Edwards, a fine player in the making. I admire the level of concentration display by the young crop of WI players. The management team on the tour must be given some credit. WI team is on the rise & soon our ranking will be. This pitch is waring, anything can happen. Indian pacers bowled well esp. Sharma. Our boys can do better. Let's keep our fingers cross.

  • on November 23, 2011, 19:15 GMT

    w.i. big blunder. indian old men were tired but the brain in w.i. management couldnt take advantage of it because there is a lack of planning and brain. india should have been batting the last hour of the second day . when these men were so tired wi could easily have picket up a few wickets but this was not in the card as wi management is not forward thinking

  • ditty678 on November 23, 2011, 18:27 GMT

    Lots of people make the lara comparison. But has anyone noticed that for a large percentage of his innings he bats without a helmet? That evokes memories of Vivian Richards-esque swagger.

  • Rahulbose on November 23, 2011, 18:13 GMT

    Every cricket fan should be cheering this WI team. Hope they find some quality bowlers soon and we can watch Caribbean cricket at its best once again.

  • on November 23, 2011, 17:46 GMT

    Highly likely this is going to be a draw. Only person who can change the result is Sehwag. If he hits a quick 200/300, then we would have a game.

  • on November 23, 2011, 16:42 GMT

    A Job Well Done Bravo !!!

  • on November 23, 2011, 16:26 GMT

    Fantastic performance by the bright talented youngsters form West Indies -- learnt fast, matured fast, applied themselves with great dedication. Good role models for Young Indian players.

  • m_ilind on November 23, 2011, 16:25 GMT

    This young WI team has given a good account of themselves on this India tour where more fancied teams have done worse! An India tour has helped WI discover their new star players in the past (Greenidge, Richards, Roberts, Clarke etc.), and this tour is doing just that.

  • on November 23, 2011, 16:21 GMT

    @ Karthik Srikanta. Only if wishes were horses, even pigs may fly. Sleep tight. Have suchgood dreams. If it turns out to be true, celebrate. I will be the fist one to join your party.

  • Reclkless on November 23, 2011, 16:19 GMT

    Nuce prediction mate!Hope it works lolz

  • coolxi on November 23, 2011, 15:58 GMT

    i hope west indies continue in this vein... its good to see them put up a fight and challenge india... it will no doubt stand them in good stead over time..

    the openers have done well... specially the inclusion of adrian barath since the last test has boosted their confidence. i hope chris gayle comes back... otherwise with experience the openers will definetly progress... darren bravo's form and steady rise of marlon samuels combined with age old chanders gives their middle order some steel. however the inclusion of dwayne bravo into this middle order at no 6 will be wonderful..

    i think darren sammy's no nonsense captaincy seems to have settled this side and must continue to remain in the side if not for anything else. if he can improve his batting it will be a big plus. carlton baugh's wicketkeeping is good too. fidel edwards, jerome taylor and kemar roach backed by rampaul and andre russel is a good combination of pacers... bishoo and benn can really combine as a spin pair

  • Ratwo on November 23, 2011, 15:53 GMT

    Finally I sense a revival of west Indian cricket. Hope WICB continues to discover new talent.

  • on November 23, 2011, 15:49 GMT

    Too much optimism Karthik... It may not be as easy as it seems..

  • chiggers on November 23, 2011, 15:42 GMT

    @Karthik - been talking to Mr Majeed, have we?

  • Mariner_1685 on November 23, 2011, 15:34 GMT

    Way to go Darren . Sure you will have a glorious career.

  • MrWenger on November 23, 2011, 15:33 GMT

    well it could happen mate....we make tracks such as this its a pain for the quickies.

  • MarkBobbyChandy on November 23, 2011, 15:12 GMT

    What an innings it was. I could have sat infront of my tv watching bravo play even for the next two days. I was praying he doesn't get out, despite me being an ardant indian cricket team fan. The shots which he had played on the off-side and straight down the ground was exactly like how it is in the coaching manual. Congrats to varun aaron on getting bravo as his first test victim. I felt like i was watching brian lara play, but i NEVER EVER forgot that i was watching Darren Bravo.

  • idiopathic_genius on November 23, 2011, 15:10 GMT

    lol.......! v'll c how Indians respond to this. They really out played our bowling department. Therz no point of critisizing the pitch when batsman doesnt wanna take any risk and particularly wen a bowler is nt delievering any wicket .. It aint gonna work. still it was a toilsome day. Hope Indian players hava gudnite sleep and then perform their best.

  • on November 23, 2011, 14:53 GMT

    West Indies: 582 all out. India: 668/7 declared. West Indies: 123 all out. India: 38/1. Or so I predict.

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  • on November 23, 2011, 14:53 GMT

    West Indies: 582 all out. India: 668/7 declared. West Indies: 123 all out. India: 38/1. Or so I predict.

  • idiopathic_genius on November 23, 2011, 15:10 GMT

    lol.......! v'll c how Indians respond to this. They really out played our bowling department. Therz no point of critisizing the pitch when batsman doesnt wanna take any risk and particularly wen a bowler is nt delievering any wicket .. It aint gonna work. still it was a toilsome day. Hope Indian players hava gudnite sleep and then perform their best.

  • MarkBobbyChandy on November 23, 2011, 15:12 GMT

    What an innings it was. I could have sat infront of my tv watching bravo play even for the next two days. I was praying he doesn't get out, despite me being an ardant indian cricket team fan. The shots which he had played on the off-side and straight down the ground was exactly like how it is in the coaching manual. Congrats to varun aaron on getting bravo as his first test victim. I felt like i was watching brian lara play, but i NEVER EVER forgot that i was watching Darren Bravo.

  • MrWenger on November 23, 2011, 15:33 GMT

    well it could happen mate....we make tracks such as this its a pain for the quickies.

  • Mariner_1685 on November 23, 2011, 15:34 GMT

    Way to go Darren . Sure you will have a glorious career.

  • chiggers on November 23, 2011, 15:42 GMT

    @Karthik - been talking to Mr Majeed, have we?

  • on November 23, 2011, 15:49 GMT

    Too much optimism Karthik... It may not be as easy as it seems..

  • Ratwo on November 23, 2011, 15:53 GMT

    Finally I sense a revival of west Indian cricket. Hope WICB continues to discover new talent.

  • coolxi on November 23, 2011, 15:58 GMT

    i hope west indies continue in this vein... its good to see them put up a fight and challenge india... it will no doubt stand them in good stead over time..

    the openers have done well... specially the inclusion of adrian barath since the last test has boosted their confidence. i hope chris gayle comes back... otherwise with experience the openers will definetly progress... darren bravo's form and steady rise of marlon samuels combined with age old chanders gives their middle order some steel. however the inclusion of dwayne bravo into this middle order at no 6 will be wonderful..

    i think darren sammy's no nonsense captaincy seems to have settled this side and must continue to remain in the side if not for anything else. if he can improve his batting it will be a big plus. carlton baugh's wicketkeeping is good too. fidel edwards, jerome taylor and kemar roach backed by rampaul and andre russel is a good combination of pacers... bishoo and benn can really combine as a spin pair

  • Reclkless on November 23, 2011, 16:19 GMT

    Nuce prediction mate!Hope it works lolz