West Indies v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Port of Spain, 2nd day June 17, 2014

Brathwaite, Bravo tons put WI in command


West Indies 310 for 5 (Brathwaite 129, Bravo 109, Edwards 55) lead New Zealand 221 by 89 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

West Indies' top order produced a commanding performance on an extended second day to take an 89-run lead in the Trinidad Test. Kraigg Brathwaite and Darren Bravo didn't let the hour-long rain break affect their concentration and partnered to put up 182 for the fourth wicket to take the team well past New Zealand's score. The bedrock of West Indies' response was a composed Brathwaite, who went on to complete his maiden Test century, while Bravo, with his first Test hundred in the West Indies, was the driving force.

New Zealand's bowlers strove but the Queen's Park Oval pitch was at its best from a batting perspective. There was occasional lateral movement for the seamers and some inconsistent bounce for the spinners, but not to an extent to cause many alarms. It still required application from the batsmen, though.

Brathwaite had been guilty of not being able to carry on the last four times he had gone past fifty. Today, however, he concentrated hard, using the classical Test approach of grinding the opposition and went past his previous best of 68. Boundaries were not his preferred mode of scoring - five, four and four came in the three sessions - so it was fitting that a single in the 68th over took him to his century - the first by any batsman in Port-of-Spain in five years.

New Zealand tried to play on Brathwaite's patience by sticking to a line outside off, inviting the drives. Brathwaite, though, stayed a step ahead and only pushed at the deliveries when either the length was too full or short enough. Only five of his 13 boundaries came through the off side, three of which were through gully.

Throughout the innings, he kept one end watertight, scoring consistently at a strike rate of around 50 - his half-century came off 100 balls and the hundred in 199 balls - but fell to a tired push back to Trent Boult towards the end of the day. He made 129 off 258 balls.

Bravo's penchant for flashy strokes kept the bowlers interested. He was lured into tentative pokes by away-going deliveries from Boult and was drawn into false strokes against spin. But when the ball hit the middle, didn't it look pretty? Bravo's innings had started with a brace of on-drives against Ish Sodhi. Twice, Tim Southee was punched on the up through covers. Then a length delivery from Mark Craig was nonchalantly flayed over mid-off, landing just short of the boundary. These were manufactured shots, in line with Bravo's flair.

As the bowlers tired out and New Zealand waited for the new ball, Bravo grew in comfort and unfurled the big shots. Sodhi, the legspinner, was lofted for sixes thrice in nine balls. In between, when Sodhi dropped it short, Bravo was quick to rock back and punch it through cover. He moved into the 90s with a crisp cover drive off Jimmy Neesham in the 71st over, then completed his sixth Test century in the next with a push through off.

Eighty-two runs came in 18 overs after tea. In the 19th - the last over before the new ball became available - Bravo attempted a big hit against the spin of Kane Williamson, but spliced it to long-off. Bravo was palpably disappointed on his dismissal at a crucial stage. West Indies lost Brathwaite nine overs later but Shivnarine Chanderpaul saw them through the tricky period.

The tone of West Indies' innings was set by a 93-run stand between Kirk Edwards and Brathwaite in the first session.

New Zealand would have hoped to see more of the swing their seamers extracted during the mini-session at the end of the first day. The conditions, though, had become slightly better for batting. Edwards wasn't shy of coming forward to deliveries that were pitched up. His first boundary - a straight drive through mid-off off a full Boult delivery - signalled West Indies' approach in the session.

That positivity was reinforced the moment Craig, New Zealand's best bowler in the first Test, was introduced. Edwards planted his front foot out at the first sign of flight and launched the offspinner over long-on.

The early counter forced Craig to switch ends and move to a round-the-stumps line, negating some of the advantage he may have held after the first game. The introduction of Neesham after the first drinks break only hastened the flow of runs.

The first eight overs in the second hour brought 55 for West Indies as boundaries were found with ease: Neesham's wide deliveries were smashed convincingly by Edwards while Brathwaite took a liking to Craig's spin, using the slog twice in the 25th over to catch up with Edwards. Edwards remained severe on the flighted deliveries, hoicking Craig for two more sixes, the last one bringing up his seventh Test half-century, from 55 balls. Edwards, though, fell soon after for 55 in Sodhi's first over. New Zealand had to wait for almost 49 overs for the next breakthrough.

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 18, 2014, 19:28 GMT

    Excellent day for us as our batsmen applied themselves like we all know they're capable and got the results. If we're able to get a working lead of say, 175-200, our bowlers should be able to put pressure on the Black Caps in their second turn at the crease. We need a repeat performance from Taylor, Roach & co. I like the controlled aggression our batsmen used today. Kudos to Bravo, 'Braff' & Edwards. 'Braff' has great powers of concentration and should be a starter for us for the next 15 years barring injury, poor form or the selectors' doing something foolish as they're wont to do from time to time. He's the Boycott type meaning that he simply relishes batting for long periods. Only a tired shot got him out today. Braff provides a measure of stability at the top which allows our strokemakers to play their shots. I say in about 3-5 years, he will be our next captain. We all know Chanders will stay there. The hope is that debutant Blackwood, Ramdin and the others will support him.

  • ESPN on June 18, 2014, 16:06 GMT

    Kudos to the WI effort so far but I still feel bowling department is thin without a clear 5th bowling option .

  • Devon L on June 18, 2014, 15:52 GMT

    Chanderpaul, Deserved to be given out! He should learn from what he did in Jamaica. The Bat is for playing the Ball.. Hit the ball.. or play a shot.

  • soumyas on June 18, 2014, 14:42 GMT

    Chanderpaul is able take them 300 lead, but its the question of how long remaining batsmen can stay ?

  • Brian on June 18, 2014, 13:55 GMT

    In order for the WI to win this game they have to consider the option of only batting once. As someone suggested earlier, these Caribbean pitched deteriorate quickly. This was evidenced by the groundsman being almost like a no 12 player. Ramdin at his home ground needs to produce a good score to make this happen.

  • Dummy4 on June 18, 2014, 13:15 GMT

    People dont get excited yet. Great to see the 100s but consistency need to be there. Will Edwards and Bagwatti make runs again in the next Test?

  • Jithin on June 18, 2014, 12:56 GMT

    Gayle has not shown significant improvement in form and consistancy in the past few tests. Barath must be brought in as an opener replacing Gayle for the next test. Powell must be reconsidered once he hits form in regional matches. This is the best chance for west indies to built a confident young team under captian Ramdin. And its time to let go Gibson and bring in a new coach.

  • Dummy4 on June 18, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    thw west indies batsmen did well but it's time to replace GAYLE with a younger man.GAYLE best days are behind him and as such west indies need to go with a younger faster player.

  • Dummy4 on June 18, 2014, 11:56 GMT

    I fail to see why all the other venues should suffer or maybe be closed just to send cricket to the traditional grounds like QPO, kO and the like. Sammy was not the problem of the WI team and having cricket in the smaller countries I am sure contributed to the development of the sport there too. making the WI team even stronger in the future. Anyway, Great job to Guys. Make us proud. WI for life.

  • Dummy4 on June 18, 2014, 11:34 GMT

    well done to the windies and about time the batsman turned it on ,like old times now to become more consistent ,we need at least another 100 runs to put pressure on new zealand

  • No featured comments at the moment.