West Indies’ batsman Tagenarine Chanderpaul plays a shot on the first day of the first Test against Zimbabw, at Queens Sports Club, in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, on February 4, 2023. (AP Photo)
WEST INDIES Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite wants to continue building a strong first innings foundation with the bat, alongside fellow opening batsman Tagenarine Chanderpaul, when day two of the first Test against hosts Zimbabwe continues on Sunday from 4am (TT time).
At Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Saturday, the opening pair put on a disciplined and defiant partnership to lead West Indies to 112 without loss after 51 overs. A lengthy rain delay during the second session prevented the maroon from going further.
Both the skipper and “Tage’ finished day one unbeaten on 55 runs each after winning the toss and opting to take first strike.
However, Brathwaite believes if they can continue on in good stride and construct a challenging first innings total, it should augur well for the visiting team.
“It’s a good start but Zimbabwe are going to come strong tomorrow (Sunday) so it’s important that we start right over. Tomorrow is important for us to build on this start and put ourselves in a good position just to bat once.
“Starting over tomorrow is very crucial. It’s important, for me and Tage, we want to start fresh in the morning as it’s very important for us to build the foundation for the team to get a big first innings total,” he said after the first day’s play.
At the coin toss, Brathwaite said he chose to bat first because the pitch “looked good” and there “wasn’t much moisture.” The weather which followed, he said, played no part in his decision to bat first.
Brathwaite said the pitch played in favour of the opening pair but the heavy rain which followed would play a decisive role on pitch conditions for day two.
“With rain around, we have to see how the pitch plays. So come day three/day four, we have to set some goals but a big first innings total is very important.
“Making the batsman play would be crucial on a pitch like this and you saw Zimbabwe did that well with us, so it’s not going to be easy. The pitch is quite good to bat on but making the batsman play as much as possible will be very important, and taking our chances.”
On his opening partner, son of legendary former West Indian batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Brathwaite, 30, said there continues to be “no pressure” in sharing the crease with the 26-year-old Guyanese.
“I enjoy batting with ‘Tage’ a lot, from the time he started in Australia (November 2022). It’s no pressure for me. I tried to rotate the strike as best as I could, I think that’s very important for me.”
He lauded his partners’ competitive traits and believes the young Chanderpaul has a bright future with the West Indies team.
“Tage is quite special, I played against him when he played for Guyana a couple times. It’s great to see the fight that a young guy can come into the Test team and show.
“And even for me, he’s an example to follow. I just need him to continue being himself, which is one thing we encourage. He is going to do superbly for West Indies.”
On his team’s bowling strengths against the Zimbabweans, Brathwaite added, “Whether spinner or pacer, I’m backing them to do well here.”
The West Indies bowling attack comprises spinners Brathwaite, Roston Chase and Gudakesh Motie and pacers Kyle Mayers, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph and Kemar Roach.