Antigua, March 30 (IANS) Kraigg Brathwaite batted through the day for an invaluable 99 not out as the West Indies reached 287/7 at the close of the first day of the second Test against Sri Lanka at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
Brathwaite’s innings spanned six-and-a-half hours in which he faced 239 balls and struck 11 fours. He is on the verge of a ninth Test century — which would also be his second at this venue — the other was 121 against Bangladesh in 2018.
When he reached 98, Brathwaite also became the 16th West Indian batsman to surpass 4,000 Test runs, thus joining an elite list. The others are: Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Viv Richards, Brian Lara, Sir Garry Sobers, Rohan Kanhai, Sir Gordon Greenidge, Alvin Kallicharan, Sir Richie Richardson, Sir Clive Lloyd, Roy Fredericks, Chris Gayle, Shiv Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Desmond Haynes and Carl Hooper.
He held the innings together and shared the day’s honours with Suranga Lakmal who had claimed two early wickets — John Campbell and Nkrumah Bonner and added another of Jermaine Blackwood to end the day with 3/71.
“Sri Lanka are a very disciplined bowling unit so for me it was about capitalising on the few bad balls and taking my time, letting the ball come to me,” Brathwaite said after the day’s play. “I think we have lost two wickets too many, but I am still happy with the position although the first session on the second day will be crucial.”
Brathwaite and Kyle Mayers had a third-wicket partnership of 71 as the latter made 49. West Indies slipped to 222/7 in the final session of the day, but Brathwaite found another resolute partner in Rahkeem Cornwall, who stayed unbeaten on 43 in a partnership which has produced 65 runs so far for the eighth wicket.
Brief scores: West Indies 287/7 (Kraigg Brathwaite 99 batting, Kyle Mayers 49; Suranga Lakmal 3/71) vs Sri Lanka