Discipline needed to beat Sri Lanka - Brathwaite
GALLE, Sri Lanka (CMC):
All-rounder Carlos Brathwaite says West Indies will need to make adjustments and be disciplined in all areas, in order to beat Sri Lanka in the two-Test series starting here tomorrow.
The 27-year-old said the bowling department needed to be consistent with their lengths, while the batsmen needed to be prudent with their shot selection, the combination of which would place pressure on Sri Lanka.
"The pacers need to find the right lengths to bowl, whether they are using it in an attacking sense or they are using it as a defensive cog to allow the spinners to exert some pressure and get some wickets from their end," said Brathwaite, who led West Indies A here last year.
"Batting wise, we need to be a lot more selective. What I found playing against Sri Lanka A is that the spinners play with their fields very well, so simple things like mid-on and mid-off hanging - normally in the Caribbean we have them really tight or back on the boundary - just little adjustments like that, knowing if to push and get a single or if to go over the top.
"A couple of our guys were caught at a three-quarter mid-on."
Brathwaite is yet to play a Test, but pressed the case for a call-up when he lashed an attacking 54 against Sri Lanka Cricket President's XI, in a drawn three-day tour match which finished on Sunday.
A probing seamer, he is part of a youthful West Indies squad attempting to win the first ever Test by a Caribbean side on Sri Lankan soil.
"Once we get those two things - the adjustments to the field and skilfully playing spin, getting off strike, knowing when to attack and knowing when to defend and the bowlers getting their lengths right, even the spinners bringing the batsmen on the front foot a lot more and forcing them to make more decisions more often than not - I think we will be successful."
West Indies were hit by controversy even before leaving the Caribbean when head coach Phil Simmons was suspended by the West Indies Cricket Board, for being openly critical of the selection of the ODI team.
With the team having arrived to stifling humidity in Colombo two weeks ago, the West Indies have seemed to be up against it, but Brathwaite said there was a great sense of togetherness in the unit.
"Having been here last year with the A team, I kind of understood the conditions and how to settle in because we had a similar acclimatisation period with the A team last year, so I probably settled quicker than most of the guys," he pointed out.
"The main thing for me is how the guys are interacting off the field. Someone is always in someone else's room or you see guys at dinner three or four in a bunch so it's good camaraderie. I know over time that will transfer and translate to on the field and we can win some matches for West Indies."