West Indies batsman Darren Bravo says he was less focused on playing for a win or a draw and more driven to stay at the crease, believing either result was possible as long as he kept batting. West Indies eventually fell short by 56 runs to Pakistan in the first Test at Dubai as Bravo was seventh man out after making 116 in a near seven-hour stay at the crease in pursuit of a target of 346.
Bravo faced 507 balls in the match, including 249 in the second innings on the way to scoring his eighth Test century to give hope that West Indies might make it out of the first Test without a loss and says his side did well to stay in the match after Pakistan’s imposing first innings total.
“It was a situation where I wanted to actually bat out the entire day,” Bravo said. “As long as I batted and spent a lot of time out in the middle, definitely going to frustrate the Pakistanis and start to dig in for us. I just wanted to bat and have a couple of partnerships and that would make it much easier.
“I think it was a very good batting wicket for the entire match but the thing was with the situation, if we had won the game today, we would have won the game in the last session or something like that so it was all about spending time in the middle and just waiting to launch in the end. Having said that, I think it was a tremendous effort. The guys really fought throughout the entire Test match even though the first two days in the entire Test match we were totally outplayed. The way Bishoo bowled put is in good stead to obviously come out on top.”
Bravo says he took a positive outlook to Azhar Ali’s triple-century in that it was still a good enough batting track where he could prosper as well if he focused on staying at the crease rather than thinking about the daunting challenge of playing catch up to Pakistan’s total.
“It was just a matter of spending time,” Bravo said. “I realized that as long as you spend time in the middle, you’re going to score runs. Azhar Ali scored a triple-century, he batted a very very long time on a very very good batting wicket and I just wanted to spend time out in the middle. I didn’t really concentrate on runs, I just wanted to bat for the entire day and I know as long as I do that, if not close to a hundred, I’ll go past 100. I just wanted to bat for the team. I think I did that pretty okay and I just want to continue from here.
“Some days I probably might score faster, some days you’ll have to stick it out. Sometimes they say you have to remove… not always glorious shots. Sometimes you have to show that solid determination and discipline to get a job done. I tried that in this game and it worked. Who knows, next game it can be probably fluent. You never know but at the end of the day I’m putting a lot of work in the nets and I’m really happy to reap rewards especially in this game.”
Bravo also gave credit to legspinner Devendra Bishoo for keeping the team in the match with an eight-wicket haul in the second innings. Bravo says Bishoo was underutilized in the first innings and the team made a concerted effort to get him involved much earlier in Pakistan’s second innings, a decision which helped set up West Indies and Bravo’s valiant fourth-innings chase.
“I don’t think Bishoo bowled enough in the first innings and it was a conscious effort to give him the ball in the second innings to work his magic and that is exactly what he did,” Bravo said. “He put us in a very very good position and I’m really happy for him. He’s someone that wishes everybody well so it’s always good to see him reap rewards for his hard work and hopefully he can continue for the rest of the series.”
After coming so close to pulling off a dramatic victory in the final hour of play, Bravo says West Indies have demonstrated that they can pose a serious challenge to Pakistan in the final two Tests. However, he says West Indies can’t always be playing from behind and must establish stronger positions earlier on in the match in order to have the best chance of drawing level in the next Test at Abu Dhabi beginning on Friday.
“We have a few days to get things right,” Bravo said. “It’s very important that we put in our work in the nets before the start of the second Test. I think it’s very important that we start well in the second Test. We don’t want to be behind the eight-ball playing catch up cricket which is what we had to do in this game which always makes it much more difficult.
“So it’s very important that we start well and just realize when we’re on top and try to carry the momentum for as long as possible. So hopefully we can get things right. We showed that we can compete in this Test match. After the first two days we were out of it and then all of a sudden we were in a position to win in the last hour of the day. So we are trying our best.