Brathwaite innings inspired by mom
SYDNEY, Australia (CMC):
Carlos Brathwaite's boundary-studded half-century on yesterday's rain-hit second day of the third Test against Australia carried deeper value than just fours and sixes.
The audacious right-hander carved out 69 off 71 deliveries with seven fours and four sixes, and while the innings sustained West Indies' fightback at 248 for seven at the close at the Sydney Cricket Ground, it also had a special significance.
Brathwaite has dedicated his career to his mother, Joycelyn, who is a breast cancer survivor. And with the third day of the Sydney Test designated 'Pink Day' in support of the fight against breast cancer, the Barbadian's knock could not have been more timely.
"Mom messaged me and said the first 50 was for her. So, overnight, she was telling me that I have 35 of her runs, so get the other 15 today and then start over fresh for mine," Brathwaite said yesterday.
"I ended with 69 - so that's 19 for me," he added with a smile. "She not a 'big' cricket person, but she understands a bit about the game and she has been a tremendous supporter all my life."
'Pink Day' is an initiative of the McGrath Foundation - organised by fast bowler legend Glenn McGrath in honour of his late wife Jane, who died of breast cancer seven years ago.
Ahead of the match, members of the West Indies and Australia teams posed for special team photos wearing pink caps and interacted with breast cancer patients and their caregivers.
With first-hand knowledge of the struggle against the disease, Brathwaite made it his duty to speak to the visitors and offer words of encouragement.
"Just to see someone who went through it and people that care for people going through it, I just felt the need to put my arm around them and say, 'Thanks for the job you are doing'," he said.
"And then I went to the lady (with breast cancer) to say, 'You are a fighter, you are a survivor, and just keep going'."
Brathwaite revealed that his mother was diagnosed during 2011, the year he made his debut for the Windies in Bangladesh. He shaved his head during that tour to show solidarity and sent the photos home to show his support.
"She took it better than I did. I was the one stressing all the time, wondering if she was okay, crying at times, and she was always the one with a smile on her face," he recalled.
"Through the ordeal, I cried the whole night, slept away from home because I couldn't manage to stay with her and watch her going through it. But she was really buoyant throughout, always smiling and cracking jokes.
"She is a very spiritual person and she was always saying, 'Just keep faith and God will come through for you'. And her ordeal showed me what God can do, and that is why I have the faith I have."
WEST INDIES 1st innings
(overnight 207 for six)
K Brathwaite c Smith b Lyon 85
S Hope c wkp Nevill b Hazlewood 9
DM Bravo c Khawaja b Pattinson 33
M Samuels run out 4
J Blackwood b Lyon 10
+D Ramdin not out 30
*J Holder c Burns b O'Keefe 1
C Brathwaite b Pattinson 69
K Roach not out 1
Extras (b5, lb1, nb1) 7
TOTAL (7 wkts, 86.2 overs) 248
To bat: J Taylor, J Warrican.
Fall of wickets: 1-13 (Hope), 2-104 (Bravo), 3-115 (Samuels), 4-131 (Blackwood), 5-158 (K Brathwaite), 6-159 (Holder), 7-246 (C Brathwaite)
Bowling: Hazlewood 15.2-5-37-2, Pattinson 16-3-67-2 (nb1), Lyon 35-12-78-2, Marsh 4-1-15-0, O'Keefe 16-5-45-1.
AUSTRALIA - *S Smith, D Warner, J Burns, U Khawaja, A Voges, M Marsh, +P Nevill, S O'Keefe, J Pattinson, J Hazlewood, N Lyon.
Toss: West Indies.
Umpires: C Gaffaney, I Gould; TV - M Erasmus.