PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (Reuters) – West Indies have one major reason to smile on their difficult tour of South Africa with the continued development of young opener Kraigg Brathwaite.The Barbadian scored a classy 106 in the rain-effected drawn second Test which showed his solid technique, even temperament and old-fashioned guts as he weathered a hostile spell of fast bowling from Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn.
It was a third century of 2014 for the 22-year-old and his first outside of the Caribbean, in a year in which he has scored 701 Test runs at an average of almost 78.
He showed when he scored 212 against Bangladesh in Kingston in September that he has the powers of concentration to bat long.
“I’m quite happy, it was obviously hard work and I just believed in myself and did it,” Brathwaite told reporters after collecting his man-of-the-match award.
“They are the number one team in the world so it’s not going to be easy, but doing my research and getting into the nets to work hard, it’s paid off.”
Brathwaite’s doubters have been dwindling after a stellar year and he hopes this innings against the world’s best side is the springboard for even greater achievements.
“It means a lot, growing up as a little man and watching Test cricket in South Africa, it’s good to be here and actually scoring a hundred against the number one team in the world,” he said.
“It’s a good milestone for me and I just want to keep going from strength to strength.”
Marlon Samuels, who shared a West Indies record third-wicket stand against South Africa of 176 with Brathwaite, believes his young partner has the potential for a long Test career.
“I can’t remind a guy like Kraigg to be patient because he’s a very patient person,” Samuels said.
“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 will get a chance to get more runs when the third Test starts in Cape Town on Friday. South Africa lead the series 1-0.