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West Indies v India, 2nd ODI, Jamaica

Bravo's an amazing player to have in the side - Lara

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan in Kingston

May 21, 2006

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Dwayne Bravo repaid his captain's faith in full © Getty Images
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Brian Lara has revealed that it was Chris Gayle who suggested that Dwayne Bravo bowl a slower ball right at the death, the delivery that sealed the match and sent the carnival crowd at Sabina Park into an absolute frenzy. Lara termed the win a "very, very important one" and wanted West Indies to carry on the winning habit for the rest of the series.

"Bravo has a lot of variety in his bowling and I decided to give him the last over," said an expectedly elated Lara at the end of the day. Until the final over, Bravo had bowled three overs for 20, and hardly looked like making much of an impact. Lara, however, thought otherwise: "Fidel Edwards is also capable of bowling some good yorkers at the death but I went with Bravo because he has just a bit more options. He bowled very well on Thursday as well and that's also what tilted it in his favour. He's an amazing player to have in the side."

Why didn't he bring the field in after the equation was reduced to two off three, after Yuvraj Singh had clattered two fours? "I was looking for a tie," he continued, "I thought we would give Yuvraj a single, getting [Munaf] Patel, the No.11 on strike. But Bravo's delivered a perfect yorker off a slower ball." It was a slower ball that resulted in an eruption, with some irrepressible celebrations following the victory. A placard that read "Thank you for two nil." was hastily changed to "Thank God it's one one". The party at the Mound, that had raged all day, got a whole lot livelier.

"We've always been getting into winning positions, both in the Tests and one-dayers," Lara continued, "and it's just that we haven't been able to finish things off. It was a fine show of character from us, both today and on Thursday. We've been doing well against Zimbabwe and it was important for us to win here."

While pleased with West Indies' improved performance in the field, which he justifiably felt was "exceptional", Lara spoke about a few areas of concern. "Every single player needs to improve in every department of the game," he added. "You can't score 251 off 45 overs in one-day and make only 198 the next. The pitch played OK, there was no real difference between this one and the one used for the previous game."

Sitting next to Lara was someone who he thought had played an "extraordinary innings". Ramnaresh Sarwan had no qualms about missing out on the hundred ("I don't mind making 98 and winning all the time) and spoke about what went through his mind during the course of the innings. "I knew I needed to bat out the 50 overs. I was looking at somewhere around 230-250 when I went out to bat but things got difficult out there. The Indian bowlers all bowled well early on but things got easier after the 30-over mark. Marlon [Samuels] and myself had a good partnership and it helped us get to close to 200."

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of Cricinfo

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