1st Test, Day 1; Kraigg Brathwaite aim to put Lara’s advice into practice vs Zimbabwe

The opening day of the first Test between hosts Zimbabwe and West Indies came to a disappointing end after rain played spoilsport at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo. But the day did witness a considerable amount of action as 51 overs were bowled without any success for the bowlers before the rain arrived.

The West Indies, who are ushering into a new era under the guidance of batting legend Brian Lara, decided to bat first after winning the toss in the Test series opener. The Caribbean side got off to a solid start after the opening pair of Kraigg Brathwaite and Tagenarine Chanderpaul saw off the new ball without much trouble.

The tourists were 112-0 off 51 overs in Bulawayo as they sought to extend an unbeaten Test record against the hosts having won seven of the previous 10 and drawn three.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite said former West Indies legend, batsman Brian Lara has made an immediate impact with his wealth of knowledge and will look to get off to a strong start with Zimbabwe’s bowling in Bulawayo in the regional team’s two-match Test series against Zimbabwe.

Lara, who retired in 2007, was hired by Cricket India on 26 January as a performance consultant for the West Indies international teams. The former left-hander will also have a hand in the West Indies academy, which will mainly consist of under-25 players.

Lara is regarded as one of the best batsmen world cricket has ever seen and will be hoping to continue the form the West Indies batsmen showed in a drawn warm-up match that ended on Sunday.

Brathwaite scored an unbeaten 116 off 170 balls and wicketkeeper Joshua de Silva scored an unbeaten 100 off 149 balls before departing. Roston Chase showed his skills by scoring an unbeaten 87 off 93 balls. Led by these three, West Indies were limited to 517/8 in the first innings.

Also captain said,

“I thought he (Lara) has done a magnificent job. Obviously, helping guys think about batting, think about plans a little more. I thought he has done a superb job. I think the guys learned a lot thus far. It is just important to materialize these (suggestions) into the game and the guys are looking forward to the game.”

Test opener Kraig said the batsmen have had many conversations with Lara in the nets and have picked Lara’s brain in an effort to improve their game.

“I saw him having a lot of convos with batsmen during net sessions, so I think that knowledge was passed on. It is obviously important that we apply the thought process of batting, obviously batting for long periods. It is important that we don’t forget about these key points he would have touched on.’

“I think the guys got some very good info from the legend and the guys look forward to going out there and doing it and obviously performing, that is key.”

Lara, who commented further, says that he is impressed with the way the players played the practice match.

“Preparation has gone really well. Really liked how the guys applied themselves in the practice game we had as well. The guys are looking forward to the first Test. I think we are in a very good space.”

Former coach Phil Simmons’ last assignment was the two-match Test series against Australia that ended in December in Australia. Australia won 2-0. After that, the West Indies team will play the next few matches under the interim coach Led Andre Coley.

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