Brathwaite braced for South Africa challenge in first test

Centurion Park (Reuters): West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite believes his players must not get ahead of themselves and take each hour as it comes as they prepare to face a new-look South Africa in the first of two tests at Centurion Park on Tuesday.

The Caribbean side are coming off a 1-0 series win in Zimbabwe earlier this month, but before that were thumped in Australia late last year and will face similar seamer-friendly conditions on their short tour of South Africa.

“It won’t be easy, South Africa are a tough team at home, but we are looking forward to playing some hard days of test cricket,” Brathwaite told reporters on Monday.

“It is important we take control of every hour, and not look at the big picture, just go from session to session.”

West Indies have lost 12 of their previous 15 tests in South Africa and won just one, though this is the first time they have toured the country in the longest format since 2015. Their only victory was a surprise success in Gqeberha 16 years ago.

Brathwaite, who opens the batting, concedes it will be a big step up from what they faced in Zimbabwe and it will be up to the batters to lay the platform for success against the home side’s vaunted pace attack on helpful wickets.

“Zimbabwe isn’t a top team in the world so we are really looking to challenging ourselves here. We need to improve as batters and it is important as openers to set the foundation or the team,” he said.

“It looks a good wicket, stats say batters can get runs on this pitch and the spinners will turn it later in the game.

“We have some very good bowlers. As a group we look forward to bowling at any batting line-up in the world. Discipline is very important, if we stick to our plans, the results will take care of themselves.”