Bravo’s double century gives Windies a chance to save the match

DUNEDIN, New Zealand, Friday December 6, 2013, CMC – Darren Bravo led a resistance with his maiden double century which saved West Indies from an innings defeat against New Zealand on the fourth day of the first test at University Oval in Dunedin here on Friday.

Bravo dug in and mixed gritty defence with powerful drives through the off-side to be unbeaten on a career best 210, forcing the match into a fifth day as West Indies soared to 443 for six, a lead of 47.

The 24-year-old Bravo, who batted for more than nine hours punched the air in delight after reaching 200 and was embraced by Captain Darren Sammy as he became the 26th West Indian to pass the milestone.

Bravo, whose previous highest score in 26 Tests was 195 against Bangladesh two years ago in Mirpur, found useful allies in Narsingh Deonarine (52), Denesh Ramdin (24) and Sammy (44 not out) to frustrate the home side seeking their first Test win of the year.

His 404-ball knock has enhanced West Indies effort to save the match, after New Zealand had bowled them out for 213, in reply to a first innings total of 609 for nine declared that also featured a double-hundred from Ross Taylor.

He has so far collected 30 fours, most of them his trademark classical cover drives that had the signature of batting legend Brian Lara from his native Trinidad & Tobago.

West Indies appeared on the brink of disaster, after they continued from their overnight total of 168 for two and lost Samuels and Chanderpaul in quick succession.

Samuels made 23 before he gave a return catch to Tim Southee in the second over of the day and Chanderpaul was trapped lbw to left-arm fast-medium bowler Neil Wagner for one about four overs late, leaving West Indies 185 for four.

Bravo then added 122 for the fifth wicket with Deonarine, shared 56 with Ramdin and has so far put on 80 – unbroken – with Sammy.

He was fortunate on 82 when Wagner failed to hold a sharp return chance from a leading edge.

Deonarine reached his 50 from 126 balls, when he drove left-arm medium-fast bowler Corey Anderson through cover for his fourth boundary – but he had two slices of good fortune before he reached the landmark.

He was on 39, when Southee put down a low return chance and in the same bowler’s next over, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, at short cover, dropped a straightforward chance from a blistering drive when he was 40.

Sammy’s unbeaten 44, despite nursing a hamstring, included powerful drives and pulls off the seamers and two sixes.

With four West Indian wickets standing and a full day ahead, New Zealand are still strongly favoured to win the match, although periods of rain are forecast for Dunedin later on Saturday. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample