Bravo’s big hand
MUMBAI – Darren Bravo tormented India’s bowlers with a classy 166 as West Indies racked up a mammoth 575 for nine in their first innings yesterday.
His knock virtually ended the hosts’ hopes of inflicting a whitewash in the final cricket Test at the Wankhede Stadium.
The visitors thrashed the home attack on an easy-paced surface on the second day of the third Test before debutant paceman Varun Aaron picked up three wickets in four overs to force a mini collapse in the last session.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin added two more to his overnight tally of two wickets, as West Indies, trailing 2-0 in the series, added 308 runs to their overnight total.
Bravo continued his rich vein of form, notching up his third ton in the last four Tests, his first career century coming against Bangladesh last month.
“I think I am in pretty good form at this point . . . and hopefully it can continue,” the Trinidadian told reporters. “It was very important for me to stay positive as much as possible.
“The openers did a tremendous job as well as the No. 3, Kirk Edwards. When you come in on that platform, try and continue from where they left off.”
The top six West Indies batsmen made half-centuries, forcing India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to resort to desperate measures, including bringing on Sachin Tendulkar to bowl, in search of wickets on a placid pitch.
Ashwin, who went for 154 runs from 51 overs for his four wickets, did not hide his disappointment with the playing surface.
“It is the first time I have seen a wicket like this [at Wankhede]. It is similar to the practice wicket to the left of the pitch. [I] was praying it wasn’t like that,” he said.
Bravo, the 22-year-old left-hander, brought up his second successive ton with an elegant square-driven boundary off Ashwin and celebrated by kissing his bat before raising it aloft along with his cap.
The stylish batsman, who made 136 in the second innings in the last Test in Kolkata, started the day with two straight-driven fours off Aaron and looked extremely comfortable at the crease throughout his extended stay.
The cousin of former West Indies batting great Brian Lara hit 17 boundaries during his 284-ball stay, the only blemish coming on Tuesday when Rahul Dravid dropped him at slip on 33 off left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha.
Bravo became Aaron’s maiden Test wicket when he edged the paceman to Dhoni, going for a drive away from his body.
“I think I became a bit tired. I was suffering from a little bit of flu over the last couple of days and I think it took a toll on me,” he said.
Resuming on 267 for two, Bravo and Kirk Edwards (86) added 164 for the third wicket before the latter edged paceman Ishant Sharma to wicketkeeper Dhoni on the stroke of the first drinks break.
Bravo then added 160 for the fourth wicket with Kieran Powell (81) – the third century partnership of the innings.
Powell, who replaced the injured Shivnarine Chanderpaul in the team, hit nine fours before he edged Ojha to Dhoni while going for an extravagant backfoot drive.
Dhoni took five catches behind the stumps but dropped a difficult low catch off Marlon Samuels (61), when the batsman was on 46, off the bowling of Aaron. (Reuters)