For all his solidity and competence, Kraigg Brathwaite can be pretty invisible even as he racks up the runs. Paradoxically, that is what makes him stand out. In a West Indies team where attractive strokeplay is more abundant than gritty run-accumulation, Brathwaite is a paragon of Test batsmanship.
Still, he can be easy to miss. After West Indies slipped to 38 for 3 in their first innings in Sharjah, Brathwaite revived them through partnerships with Jermaine Blackwood, Roston Chase and Shane Dowrich. In each case, his batting partner seemed to take more of the limelight.
Blackwood pinged four fours and struck a run-a-ball 23 in the pair's 30-run stand. Similarly, Chase and Dowrich were both more flamboyant than Brathwaite, but also more fallible - and, therefore, far more watchable. Chase scored 50 in his 83-run partnership with Brathwaite; Dowrich scored 47 out of 83. Even Jason Holder commanded more attention than Brathwaite with two delightful boundaries - and another streaky one - in the pair's 29-run stand.
But it was Brathwaite who batted on and on. It was Brathwaite who continued the serious business of making big runs even as his partners flitted in and out of the scene with eye-catching contributions. It was Brathwaite who made himself an immovable object, refusing to give his wicket away till his side was firmly in the lead - in fact, not even then. Fittingly, while hauling West Indies past the finish line, he became the first opener in Test history to remain unbeaten through both innings of a match. That single statistic encapsulates his value as a batsman.
To reduce Brathwaite to an obdurate stonewaller would be unfair. To suggest that his strokeplay is limited would be to overlook a significant aspect of his game. Brathwaite scores runs all around the field. If he does not do it through boundaries, he does it by working the ball into gaps for less glamorous ones and twos. In his first innings in Sharjah, in which he carried his bat for 142 off 318, he scored more than half of his runs - 78, to be exact - in singles. His most productive area was midwicket, despite the fact that he did not hit a single boundary in that region. Nor was Sharjah a one-off - in his career-best 212 against Bangladesh in St Vincent, Brathwaite hit 79 ones and 25 twos, again peppering all parts of the ground.
Those ones and twos may not have got people jumping out of their seats, but they demonstrated his ability to find gaps all around the dial. They also showed that Brathwaite had the match-sense and the skill to rotate the strike regularly. Despite being in the middle throughout both of West Indies' innings in the Sharjah Test, Brathwaite faced well under half the balls - 427 out of 957. He knows how to get to the other end, an attribute that is often missing in some of his team-mates.
That said, Brathwaite's single greatest gift is his temperament. He had already proved that he had the grit and concentration to play long innings; in Sharjah, he showed that he could do it under pressure when his team needed it most. And yet he did not seem overawed by the achievement. Speaking after the match, the 23-year-old Barbadian calmly expressed the hope that he could "repeat this feat many times". Whether or not he manages that, he has already made himself increasingly difficult to ignore.