Wed, Dec 23, 2015 - Page 18 News List

West Indies resilient, capable enough to challenge Australia: Darren Bravo

AFP, MELBOURNE, Australia

The much-maligned West Indies have the resilience and ability to be a match for Australia in this week’s second Test in Melbourne, star batsman Darren Bravo said yesterday.

Bravo was one of the Caribbean tourists’ few shining lights to come out of the shattering innings and 212-run hammering inside three days by hosts Australia in the first Test in Hobart.

He top-scored with 108 in the West Indies’ first innings, while opener Kraigg Brathwaite contributed 94 after Australia skipper Steve Smith enforced the follow-on.

While the West Indies were pilloried for their listless approach to the Test, Bravo said his side would be much better prepared for the Melbourne Cricket Ground showpiece and other batsmen were capable of stepping up.

“When you’re not scoring runs, it’s always difficult to pick yourself up, but I believe the guys have that sort of resilience in them,” Bravo told reporters.

“We’ve scored international hundreds already, we’ve proven we are definitely capable of playing at this level. The guys are really up for it. We’re really pumped up... We’re much better prepared and we’re looking forward to it,” he added.

Bravo said his teammates had trouble adapting to the Australian conditions in Hobart, but said the team was ready to back itself in the second match of the three-Test series.

“Conditions are very foreign to us... Yes, they’re a very good team, but at the end of the day they’re still humans,” Bravo said.

“They’re going to present bad balls, it’s just a matter of putting them away. I don’t think you should be bogged down that much. Don’t be intimidated by the Australian bowlers,” Bravo added.

Despite his fighting words, the West Indies have continued to struggle on their tour of Australia and failed to impress in a two-day match last weekend against a low-key Victorian XI in Geelong.

They managed 303-8 without Bravo and were only able to reduce the inexperienced locals to 169-3 before rain washed out play on Sunday’s final day.

Much was also made of distracted Jerome Taylor missing a catch at fine leg because he had his back to play and was staring into a vacant grandstand.

“It’s just a mishap. I don’t want to dwell on that too much,” Bravo said of the Taylor incident. “It’s very important that we look at the positives.”

Bravo praised the knocks of Jermaine Blackwood (69) and Brathwaite (78) in Geelong, while he pointed to the fact Australia were 121-3 on day one of the first Test as another source of optimism.

“We were in the driver’s seat,” he said. “We need to maintain the momentum... We need to stay focused.”

The West Indies have won just four of their last 21 Tests and are ranked above only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. They last won a Test in Australia in 1997.

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