West Indies batsman Darren Bravo drives on the third day of the first Test against Sri Lanka at Galle. (Pic by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi)

Sa’adi Thawfeeq reporting from Galle

GALLE: Being the main batsman in the side whom the rest of the West Indies players look upto Darren Bravo knows that he has to play a long knock in the middle if his team is to save the first Test against Sri Lanka at the Galle International Stadium.

Bravo who top scored with 50 in the first innings was unbeaten on 20 at the close of the third day with West Indies on 67-2 after being forced to follow-on.

They still trail by 166 runs with eight second innings wickets in hand and Bravo is one of the key batsmen on whom West Indies fortunes lie.

“It’s important as a batting unit we stay positive as much as possible. Herath is definitely the threat. He has been bowling fantastically well so it’s important that we give him respect, but if he bowls a bad ball we have to put it away,” said Bravo at the end of the day.

“It’s very important that we back our defence as well. It’s a very good batting wicket. As long as you spend time I believe you can get runs.

“I back my defence, which is the most important thing. I’m someone that likes going down the ground to hit the spinners. On a wicket that’s turning that much it’s very important that you back your defence.

“I believe I have a very good defence, and whenever I’m able to go over the top, I back my ability with that as well. I try to work out what’s the best solution on the wicket and try to build partnerships with the other batters,” he said.

Being a left-hander Bravo said that he has the ability to counter Herath’s left-arm spin but it is the right-handers who are struggling against him.

“To be quite honest I don’t think he’s that difficult for me. I believe that when he bowls to right-handers, he gets the ball to drift a lot,” said Bravo.

“When he drifts the ball into the pad, he gets the ball to turn away to the right handers. That in itself is a bit of a problem for us. As long as we back ourselves, I believe it’s going to work in our favour.

“He’s very, very consistent. He doesn’t give you that many bad balls. He’s consistent and that is why he is probably one of the best spinners in the world.”

Bravo blamed himself for getting out after playing himself in, in the first innings where he scored a half century.

“We weren’t able to capitalise on the starts that we got. I myself gave my wicket away after the half century. Blackwood started well. Ramdin got a start and the captain got a start as well. It’s a matter of us trying to capitalise on the starts we get and keep Sri Lanka out as much as possible.