Brathwaite’s finest hour
Jason Holder, the West Indies captain, praised Kraigg Brathwaite’s maturity and composure in seeing off a tense chase to help record the side’s first Test win since May 2015. Brathwaite, who carried his bat to make 142 in the first innings, remained unbeaten on 60 in the second innings as West Indies chased down 153 with five wickets in hand.
“We showed character and fight. Credit must go to Kraigg Brathwaite. He played an outstanding innings in the first innings and took responsibility of the chase in the second innings,” Holder said of his deputy. “Even though we lost the series, we did a lot of things right.”
Brathwaite became the first opener in 2229 Tests to remain unbeaten in both innings. He was complemented by Shane Dowrich, who struck his fourth half-century in an 87-run sixth-wicket stand that helped West Indies wipe off the remaining 39 runs in 7.5 overs on the fifth morning in Sharjah.
Brathwaite battled for close to 10 hours over both innings, and reveled in what he termed his best two knocks in his 34-Test career so far. “This has been the best batting Test match so far of my career. I hope to repeat this feat many times in my career,” he said. “I’ve had a good start. The key is to maintain it. I don’t want to get comfortable. I just want to continue working hard and score a lot of runs.”
The overnight pair played freely against both pace and spin to collect six boundaries in the morning, thereby converting a potentially tricky chase into a cruise. Understanding his game and having a clear mind, Brathwaite said, were the keys to batting on a low Sharjah surface.
“The plan was to keep rotating strike and bring the target down,” he said. “I knew my weak and strong areas. It was just a case of working around my strengths and backing my abilities. I knew on a low pitch, getting onto the front foot to play your strokes would give more runs than staying on the back foot.”
Brathwaite’s partner Dowrich said their approach in this Test was a template they had to stick to in their quest to maintain consistency. “This is a special feeling. The way we played this Test is the way we should play going forward,” he said. “We were positive right from the start. I just told myself I’ll be positive this morning since Kraigg is the anchorman. We knew if we stayed positive, we’d win here. Test cricket has been my dream growing up. I’d love to continue to perform for West Indies.”