West Indies v Australia, 1st Test, Barbados, 1st day

Brathwaite thrives on talkback

Daniel Brettig at Kensington Oval

April 7, 2012

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Kraigg Brathwaite played out a patient opening, West Indies v Australia, 1st Test, Barbados, 1st Day, April, 7, 2012
Kraigg Brathwaite was part of a century stand with Kirk Edwards © AFP
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Whenever the opposition starts to get chatty, Kraigg Brathwaite knows he doing his job. He did it very well indeed on the first day in Barbados, holding up the tourists for more than four hours on the way to a scene-setting 57, to grant his side the chance of a competitive total.

A conservative player since his early teens, Brathwaite has no great pretensions about advancing into a more florid style, and takes his cues from the mood of the opposition. When they are silent, he wants to get them talking, to know that their energy is being projected in terms of frustration rather than focus. That's precisely what happened the longer he batted against Australia, and Brathwaite was happy to hear it.

"I believe they were getting a little frustrated, they started talking and stuff," Brathwaite said. "As you all know I take my time, I look to get in and let the batters bat around me, make it easier for them. Once the opposition start to get frustrated, a lot of talking goes on - I feel quite good when it happens.

"[Peter] Siddle was giving me some chat but that's all part of the game. Early on with the new ball [Ryan] Harris bowled quite good. [Ben] Hilfenhaus got a bit of swing but probably wasn't getting the assistance like Harris. A little bit later I thought [Shane] Watson had it swinging both ways more than anyone else."

The most fluent passages of the days' play - there were few - took place when Brathwaite was batting with Kirk Edwards, the team's inexperienced but highly impressive vice-captain. Edwards' stance looks more functional than fluent, but his shots are powerful, and he played with considerable presence until David Warner held onto a fierce back foot drive for a return catch.

"I play a lot of cricket with Kirk and he's a very positive man," Brathwaite said. "Once he's out there he raises the score, it's quite good to bat with him. I think he's doing a good job [as vice-captain]. He's got a strong head and I back him 110%.

"We started out saying we're not going to back down. Australia was going to come hard, the pitch wasn't that easy, as the ball got older it was a little harder to score and they were bowling good lines so we just decided we were going to work hard and not give our wickets away."

Warner admitted some of the visitors had been less than enchanted with Brathwaite's approach, but argued that West Indies' careful batting had meant Australia are not too far from parity provided they can scoop quick wickets on the second morning.

"A couple of guys said 'I don't know how you can do that' but that's the way he plays," Warner said. "I don't know his game-plan but it looked like he was trying to see the shine off the ball and get to the second new rock. That just proves the point that the game wasn't getting away from us and they weren't moving on at all because with him just leaving everything and not putting scoreboard pressure on it works to our advantage.

"We know they're a very good fielding unit and when they take one or two wickets they're always up in your face. The thing we've got to do is, when we bat, we've got to try and get partnerships. That's the key and we know if we get one good partnership and have the guys out there for an hour to two hours, we know they're going to have to play boring cricket as well."

The wicket of Edwards provided Warner with plenty of reason to be chirpy, being his first in Test matches. But it also backed up a more serious point about the value of part-time bowlers. The national selector John Inverarity is adamant that more batsmen should bowl, and Warner's status as a lapsed junior legspinner has been slowly turned around.

"Growing up I bowled a lot of leg-spin. My junior stuff I was batting six and bowling a lot of leggies," Warner said. "That sort of, not went out the window - I was still bowling them in the nets - but perhaps not practising them as much as I should be.

"It's only this trip and throughout the summer that Craig McDermott and the coaches have said to me that we're going to need you to bowl here and we've got the Indian series coming up as well and that's going to be a massive part. It adds a string to the team as well. If we play two spinners you have an extra spinner there and obviously Michael [Clarke] bowls as well. It's an advantage to the team in these conditions and I'm going to be practising a lot more in the nets."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Meety on (April 10, 2012, 0:48 GMT)

Braithwaite certainly did the job here. I hold reservations about how he will go on pitches that are more helpful to bowlers, where you need to look to score more quickly. That being said, WIndies need that type of application. A Gayle/Braithwaite partnership would be very complimentary. Well played!

Posted by Metman on (April 8, 2012, 19:06 GMT)

Boycott once scored 117 at a strike rate of 29.54,..age 25.....Mike Atherton at age 27, once scored 185..@.SR..37.60,and in 115 tests had an overall SR of 37.31, the prolific Kallis once scored at age 24 ,...110...SR 33.53.....Glen Turner at age 25 once scored 259 at BOURDA @ SR 34.12....Kraigg Brathwaite just turned 19 and before this test had an overall SR of 33.75 after only 6 test matches,and certain commentators in Bdos,who I shall not named,but everybody knows,and who know themselves, say he is scoring too slow !

Posted by Rally_Windies on (April 8, 2012, 17:20 GMT)

@ Shawn Greenidge ..

please explain to me why it is the WI team needs a player like Brathwait, but that SAME west Indies Team does not NEED a player like Chadnerpaul ......

please explain ....

I am seriously confused...

the Double standards and excuses from WICB and Ottis, Please explain why Brathwaith is needed to stone wall ... and Chanderpaul is not a good batsman because he bats too slowly ?

Posted by Aussasinator on (April 8, 2012, 16:55 GMT)

The difference between these two teams would have been Chris Gayle alone, had he played.

Posted by   on (April 8, 2012, 15:00 GMT)

Did you all notice yesterday the number of times Peter Siddle had something to say to Brathwaite, after a short pitched delivery, without any intervention from the umpires. If however the batsman had responded I am sure the umpires would have then made it into a controversy. This happens so often with Aus and SA.

Posted by   on (April 8, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

Interesting, I think Brathwaite has a better strike rate in tests than Samuels had in this last ODI series against Australia amazing, most over rated player in West Indies now, check the stats.

Posted by AceB on (April 8, 2012, 12:41 GMT)

@ Harry Kool .. Time is the master . Give them time . If the English bolwers at present have issues with a teenager they can't be that special . Brathwaite , Bravo , Barath and Edwards are class as they develope and gain experience all will see.

Posted by   on (April 8, 2012, 12:39 GMT)

People are constantly underestimating Kraigg but he is just what the Windies NEED stability from someone who is prepared to bat long, you can only make runs when you are at the crease, yes people like Barath can make runs but at this level you have to bat long, and grind the bowlers, pity when commentators were looking at a possible team they didnt give him as much respect as he deserves even if Gayle comes back, for me he would have to play, but looking at Kurt play he can certainly play ahead of Samuels & even Bravo, I think the WestbIndies can beat this team.

Posted by tendulkar000001 on (April 8, 2012, 12:38 GMT)

Well done Brathwaite, over the last 10 years, WI has lost wickets very early in Test matches and were unable to recover, in fact they have lost many test matches on the First day of play, because batsmen were in such a hurry to score, Barath,Bravo and company should take a page from Brathwaite's book, as sinhaya said 3 singles an over, with the odd boundary that's 300 runs in a days play, what more can u ask for....... GO BRATHWAITE.........THE WORST FEELING FOR A FAST BOWLER IS BEING SHOWED THE FACE OF THE BAT............FRUSTRATE THEM....

Posted by neilyb on (April 8, 2012, 12:23 GMT)

In reply to Harry_Kool I too worry about the current batters coming to England in May with the English bowlers operating in conditions in which they thrive. However with regards to this lot being a level or 2 down, the batters in the top ranked team in the world today, hav'nt looked so good this winter! The point being that most international sides nowadays seem not to always adapt to surfaces which are not completely familiar to them. With reference to making batting look difficult, I suggest that at the moment, and for a change of late, the West Indies batsmen are batting like test batsmen on the first day of a test match series. C'mon Harry_Kool, give these guys a little credit...

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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