Thursday, February 2, 2023

CWI: Captain – The mission is clear, we will fight!

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Kraigg Brathwaite is very clear what the team’s goal for West Indies on Sunday’s final day of the opening Test against Australia. He reiterated what he said at the start of the journey – the need for a measured approach and to fight to the very end.

Brathwaite, who celebrated his 30th birthday on Wednesday, will resume on an unbeaten 101 – his 11th Test hundred top follow-up a top score of 64 in the first innings. He added 116 for the first wicket with debutant Tagenarine Chanderpaul made a solid 45, to follow up his 51 in the first innings.

West indies have played unbeaten all year – with three wins and two draws in their five previous Tests and will look to maintain that good record when they resume Sunday on 192-3 – after being set a target of 498.

“The first hour is crucial – we don’t want to think too far ahead. We will go hour by hour and obviously we assess. As I said, the first hour and first session are very crucial. Australia are going to come hard so it’s obviously important we start extremely well,” Brathwaite said.

“We’re not thinking too far ahead. We just want to take it each hour and fight each hour and that’s very crucial for us. “The pitch is still a good pitch. There are some areas obviously … where one or two are keeping a little low so it’s always important to keep as straight a bat as possible.  “But [there’s] a bit of spin as well so possibly tomorrow some cracks will open up a little bit more so it won’t be easy tomorrow.  But as I said from the beginning, we’ve got to show that fight and it starts from ball one tomorrow and I believe once we do that, we’ll have a good day.”

Brathwaite has so far faced 168 balls in a shade over 4-½ hours and counted 11 fours – mainly crisp drives down the ground.During the knock, he reached the milestone of 5,000 runs in Tests – the 13th West Indies player to achieve the landmark – and also edged ahead of the legendary George Headley on the list of century-makers. The hundred was also Brathwaite’s first against Australia and second in six Tests this year, following his epic match-saving 160 against England at Kensington Oval in March.

“Australia was going to be a tough place for batting and to do it (score a hundred), it really meant a lot. Obviously Australia are number one so this is obviously up there and meant a lot to me,” he said. “For me as the leader, I just want to lead from the front and obviously as opening batsmen, it’s always good to build that foundation. So I know once I do that, it makes it easier for the batsmen to come, so that’s always my focus – spend as much time out there as possible so it makes it easier for the guys to come, and that’s all I focus on.”

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