Brathwaite focused on long innings
SYDNEY, Australia, (CMC):
West Indies opener Kraigg Brathwaite says his focus at the top of the order remains on playing long innings for the team's benefit.
The right-hander started the new year on a high note with a doughty, solid batting display, which held the team's innings together on the opening day of the third and final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground before 33,000 fans.
He made 85 off 174 balls in four hours, on a day truncated due to heavy rain in the second and third sessions, as West Indies closed on 207 for six.
"I always look to bat long. I always look to set up the innings for my team, and that requires me to stay, provide a solid start and then look to capitalise on the bad balls, if any come along," said the 23-year-old.
"I back my technique, and I always look to play to my strengths. I enjoy batting for long periods, and that requires a lot of concentration, so I trying to dig in whenever I get a start."
Brathwaite played sensibly from the start, mixing sound defence with aggression, which brought him ten boundaries. He added 91 for the second wicket with left-hander Darren Bravo (33) after he lost opening partner Shai Hope cheaply for nine early in the morning session.
Brathwaite, who made a robust 94 in the first Test, seemed set for his maiden century Down Under when he fell to off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who was again Australia's best bowler, on a pitch offering turn.
"It's a good challenge. He [Lyon] is bowling quite well, and you just have to keep believing in your ability," Brathwaite explained.
"He bowled well to his field and, for me, it's about trusting my defence because he obviously turns the ball a bit. Going forward, I just have to keep believing in my ability and working at my plans.
"This is a tour where I'm learning. I just want to keep going out there and building a foundation for my team and learning the process."
He added: "Last year (2014-2015), we toured South Africa, and I learned a lot from that tour. It's all about getting better as a player and as a team. There is a lot of work to be done, but a lot can be achieved as a team if we continue to play together."