Kraigg Brathwaite’s 142 not out and 60 not out (in a chase of 153) – both innings under pressure of wickets falling around him – helped the West Indies to a consolatory five-wicket win over Pakistan in the third and final Test at Sharjah.

This was the second-highest impact performance by a West Indian batsman in Test cricket the last eleven years. Interestingly, Darren Bravo’s 87 and 116 in the series opener in Dubai was the highest in this time-period.

It was also the eighth-highest impact performance by a West Indian opener in Test cricket. Not surprisingly, six of these have involved either Desmond Haynes or Gordon Greenidge.

Much like Rahul Dravid’s performance in Adelaide in 2003, where his unbeaten 72 in the second innings had a higher impact than his 233 in the first, Brathwaite’s unbeaten 60 in the chase had a higher impact than his unbeaten 142. This, despite the fact that he absorbed marginally more pressure (of falling wickets) in the first innings.

The main reason for this is context. Brathwaite’s knock in the first innings didn’t determine the match – it only gave his team an advantage. On the other hand, his knock in the second innings was decisive and won West Indies the match after they were under pressure. Furthermore, the third and fourth innings totals in the match were lower than the first two innings. Given how rare fourth-innings chases are, and the extra pressure of chasing a target, the value of the 60 runs Brathwaite scored, unbeaten, in the fourth innings is higher.

Thus, despite scoring less than half of his first innings’ score, Brathwaite’s second innings had a 24% higher impact.

The performances by Brathwaite and Bravo, along with the impressive showings by Devendra Bishoo and Shannon Gabriel in this series, give West Indies some hope of reviving their fortunes in Test cricket.

 

Nikhil Narain