Defend a lot. Be clear on whether you're playing back or forward. And stick around for a couple of sessions. This is West Indies' batting game-plan for the second Test according to captain Kraigg Brathwaite.

With the surface for the second Test expected to be even more spin-friendly than the first, West Indies' batters technique and application seems set for another major examination.

"The plan is to be clear in what you want to do. Believe that you can do it, and do it for long periods," Brathwaite said. "We've got to have the discipline and the fight to do it for 50 overs - more than two sessions, or three sessions.

"We had a lot of discussions. One important thing is that you've got to defend a lot of balls. Having a straight bat is one thing we discussed.  That's very important. And sweeping as well - especially the offspinner. It's just about being clear and confident about whether you're playing forward or back."

West Indies' only half-centurions in the first Test were Nkrumah Bonner and Joshua da Silva, who put up a 100-run stand in the second innings, rescuing the side from 18 for 6. Brathwaite said the remainder of the batters had drawn inspiration from that partnership.

"Bonner and Josh showed that when you have a solid defence, if you put the effort and energy in, you'll be successful. Sometimes when doubt comes in, you can slip up a bit. Just trust that defence. When the bad balls come you get runs. It's important to have that clarity, as to what you want to do here.

"In terms of how they were able to manoeuvre different balls, they were a very good example for us. As a batting group, it was good to see, and something to learn from."

West Indies have had a mixed 2021. They began with an excellent 2-0 victory in Bangladesh, before drawing two Tests at home against Sri Lanka. Their worst series was the 2-0 defeat at South Africa's hands at home, before drawing a home series against Pakistan 1-1. Brathwaite outlined the importance of the next match: if they beat Sri Lanka, they would have won more matches in 2021 than they've lost.

"To be honest we showed good progress in 2021. It was not a good series against South Africa, but we bounced back decent against Pakistan. In Bangladesh we won that series 2-0. Winning this game will be very crucial from a points perspective for the Test Championship. As a team we've made some strides. Once the group stays together and keeps building, that's crucial."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf