Attack of the clone: Bravo shows class
Hits third Test century to match his legendary cousin stroke for stroke as West Indies dominate Day 2; Ashwin-Aaron strikes give India late cheer. Sanjjeev K Samyal reports. Scorecard | Super line-upindia Updated: Nov 24, 2011 01:41 IST
Only when the camera provides his close-up that you know it's not the great man himself. Everything else about Darren Bravo reminds you of Brian Lara.
No one would have got that feeling more than Sachin Tendulkar, Lara's contemporary and the main rival for the tag of best batsman of their generation. The Mumbai man was expected to hold centrestage at his home ground, but like Lara sometimes used to do in their famous battles, his cousin overshadowed the Indian legend in the opening act of the third Test.At the Wankhede on Tuesday and Wednesday, it was like watching a re-run of a Lara classic. It was not just about being a left-hander, the flowing drives, the arc of the bat while coming down on the ball, the extra time to play strokes, the nimble footwork and the calm demeanour that Bravo displayed during his epic hundred; they all had the Lara trademark.
Even the 22-year-old's physical resemblance with his illustrious cousin is remarkable. It is obvious that Bravo has taken a lot of effort to model himself on his hero. Everything seems to have been rehearsed to perfection at his home in Trinidad that even their mannerisms at the crease are ditto. The ritual of celebrating his hundred, arms raised in triumph, the blade of the bat in one hand and his cap in the other, is what Lara did.
But, Bravo is no cricket wannabe. He is carving a niche for himself in international cricket with some sterling batting displays. The figures speak for themselves. Bravo had the exact tally of runs that his hero had after his first 12 Tests (Eden Gardens was Bravo's 12th). Lara had scored 167 in his 13th Test (total tally 1108); Bravo hit 166 at the Wankhede on Wednesday to take his aggregate to 1107. Their averages after 13 games: Lara: 52.76, Bravo: 52.71.
The dismissal was also like the original Prince of Trinidad, going for an extravagant drive outside the off stump and casually edging a catch behind the stumps.
But, there was a marked difference from the times Lara played in. He usually used to be the lone ranger, but for Bravo the others pulled their weight. The top six batsmen scored over 60 - only the second time it has happened in Test cricket's 2019-game history - to power West Indies to 575 for nine at stumps on Day 2. After both openers got half-centuries on the first day, No. 3 Kirk Edwards finished on 86, No. 5 Kieron Pollard got 81 and No. 6 Marlon Samuels got 61.
Such a commanding batting display hasn't been seen from a West Indies team for many years. One has to go back to the times of Desmond Haynes, their current batting coach, in the 1980s. Importantly, it's not a one-off effort. They have done well for the second straight innings after posting 463 in their second essay at Kolkata.
Things finally seem to be falling together for the Caribbean outfit. They hold a lot of promise, and given their natural flair, a strong West Indies team augurs well for the overall health of the game.
First Published: Nov 23, 2011 11:44 IST