Darren Bravo says he grew as a bastman during today's debut knock

Galle, Sri Lanka – Test match debutant Darren Bravo was clear in his mind what he wanted to achieve when he took to the field against Sri Lanka on Monday. The left-hander got the news on Monday morning that he would get his first Test cap against the Sri Lankans at the Galle International Stadium and he mapped out a plan of action.

The 21-year-old, who joined his older brother Dwayne in the XI, wanted to make a major contribution to the team’s success. He played a mature knock of 58 off 159 balls. The innings spanned over 2 ½ hours and included six boundaries – the best of which was a glorious cover drive off Ajantha Mendis, to get off the mark in Test cricket.

In the process Bravo helped the rampaging Chris Gayle in a second-wicket partnership of 196 – a record for any wicket between the two countries. The Windies ended the day on 362-2, with Gayle on 219.

“I did not feel any nerves when I went out to bat. I was relaxed. My brother, the coach and the captain all helped me to focus on what I had to do and what the team plan was. I listened to the advice and I went out and looked for a start. I know what I’m capable of and I was looking to get a ‘big one’ [century], but I did not get there,” Bravo said.

“I would say I grew as a cricketer today. It was the most important day of my career. It’s just my first Test innings but I learned a lot when I was there at the crease with Chris Gayle. He was playing aggressively and he was scoring very quickly, so my role was just to bat as long as possible and help to achieve the team goals, which was to build big partnership. I felt I did that pretty well.”

Bravo added: “I was really happy he [Gayle] was there with me and he helped me. He told me to play my natural game and just to stay as long as possible. With him at the other end it made batting much easier.”