PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (CMC) — Rookie opener Kraigg Brathwaite has praised the influence of seasoned campaigner Marlon Samuels, following his third Test century and first outside of the Caribbean here on Monday.
The 22-year-old right-hander top-scored with 106 as West Indies, resuming the fourth day of the second Test on 147 for two, reached the close on 275 for nine at St George’s Park.
Brathwaite and Samuels, who stroked a high quality 101, put on a record 176 for the third wicket to put pressure on the South Africans on a rain-hit day where only 35 overs were possible.
“As a little man watching Marlon, I’ve always looked up to him,” said Brathwaite.
“So coming out for the first time, I told him this was the first time we were batting together, and it was privilege batting with him because he’s a batsman I really like and I enjoyed it.
“He would keep encouraging me and tell to keep going and we had a good partnership.”
Samuels, a veteran of 53 Tests, was also quick to haul Brathwaite’s performance, noting that the player had improved his game and this was a good sign for West Indies cricket.
“I can’t remind a guy like Kraigg to be patient because he’s a very patient person. I was just motivating him and telling him to bat on, and as long we could put on a record-breaking partnership it would augur well for us in saving the game,” said Samuels.
“The focus was definitely one where we had to focus right throughout because you were on the field and then off the field [because of the rain]. It was a very good discussion we had to keep both batsmen going.
He added: “He’s a very strong person mentally and it’s definitely showing in his game. They used to say he batted too slowly but now he’s improving and scoring a little faster so it’s good to see we have an opening batsman with determination and he’s getting runs.”
Brathwaite, in his 16th Test, has been in a purple patch of recent. Monday’s hundred was his third in his last six Tests, including a double hundred against Bangladesh last September.
He said the South Africa attack had made the going difficult but he trusted his ability to get runs when the opportunities presented themselves.
“I just want to thank God for giving me the strength to go out there and perform. Obviously I’m quite happy with my first hundred away from home. I would like to go from strength to strength, from here,” said Brathwaite.
“It wasn’t easy. (Morne) Morkel was bowling some short balls this morning but I just decided I would bat what I see, believe in my ability and fight hard.”
He continued: “I just told myself when I see the ball in the area where I know I can score, that I would back myself and go after it and that’s what I did and it came off quite well.
“At the end of the day, it is all about how the pitch is playing and you play to suit. I always work according to the pitch. I’ve also been working hard in terms of different shots and stuff and it’s paying off now.”