Darren Bravo credits Lara for inputs
Darren Bravo, who scored his first Test century in the Caribbean, credited Brian Lara for his inputs before the game. Bravo's sixth Test hundred, along with a maiden century from opener Kraigg Brathwaite helped West Indies take an 89-run lead over New Zealand on the second day of the Trinidad Test. The pair also added 182 runs for the fourth wicket, the third-highest stand for West Indies in home Tests in the last five years.
"Before the start of the Test match, I had a good chat with my brother and before the start of the game, Lara came to give [Jermaine] Blackwood his cap and he had a 10-minute chat with me, gave me some sort of advice," Bravo said.
"He just told me that it's very important that I concentrate as much as possible. He had been looking at me bat for quite some time and he believed my concentration tended to lack a little bit. He told me that whenever I get past 30, my average tends to be in the high 70s and stuff. All he was trying to say was that whenever you get a start, it's very important to carry on. I listen to him, whenever he gives me advice, I really look into the information deeply. It is a great feeling and I want to thank him very, very much."
Prior to this Test, Bravo had four fifties in 11 home games and the batsman said he was happy to reach the landmark in front of his family and home crowd.
"It's something I had in the back of my mind before the start of the series That is probably the more special hundred, more so in front of your family. It was a great feeling. I am happy that myself and Brathwaite, we were able to put the team in a good position. Hopefully, when we come tomorrow, the guys can capitalise on the start we got. I am keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well for West Indies tomorrow."
The platform for the century stand between Bravo and Brathwaite had been set by an earlier partnership of 93 between Brathwaite and Kirk Edwards. Edwards took on the New Zealand spin bowlers, smacking three sixes off Mark Craig on his way to a 55-ball half-century. Bravo said that Edwards' approach had given him confidence that he could play through the line and attack the spinners. Bravo started off with a brace of fours against legspinner Ish Sodhi and then struck the bowler for three sixes within nine deliveries during his 109.
"To be honest, I back myself against spin. I know exactly when the ball is in my area, I am able to execute my shots properly," Bravo said. "I just back myself. I thought Kirk Edwards gave me that confidence that it's easy to play through the line on that sort of wicket and I just went in and backed myself towards the spin."
Brathwaite, who scored his maiden Test hundred, said he was pleased to carry on his form from the game between Sagicor High Performance Centre and Bangladesh A, in which he had struck 164. Brathwaite's hundred was the first century at Queen's Park Oval after five years and the opener, who replaced Kieran Powell, said he was focused on providing the team with a solid start after the batting failures in the Jamaica Test.
"We lost the first game, the batters didn't do well. So obviously coming in as opener, my job was to just give it a foundation and then eventually go on and get a big score," Brathwaite said. "The ball was doing a lot, especially early, I wanted to get through that period, as it becomes a lot easier, and stay positive all the time. In team meetings, we said we wanted to get 100-run partnerships and 50-run partnerships and we did it today."
Brathwaite, who admitted to some nerves while approaching his hundred, said West Indies would target a lead of more than 200 runs to strengthen their chances of winning the second Test and drawing level with New Zealand.