Bridgetown: Experienced West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul has praised the maturity of the side's younger players and said their performance against Australia in the first Test here was testimony of their improvement.
"The young fellas are (coming in) to their own. We've been setting the plans and goals for the team and they've been working hard, we all have been working hard … I'm happy to actually see we achieved them today (Sunday)," Chanderpaul said after leading the way with an unbeaten 103. Darren Bravo hit 51 while captain Darren Sammy blasted a cameo 41 and Carlton Baugh, got 22 and Narsingh Deonarine, 21. On Saturday's first day, Kirk Edwards scored 61 and 19-year-old opener Kraigg Brathwaite got 57.
Chanderpaul said the young players are getting better. "The guys are getting better, the younger players are coming through and that's what we've been aiming for over the years … that's the future and we have to plan that way," he said.
Chanderpaul's century was at the foundation of the Windies' effort, however, as he faced 248 balls, struck nine fours and a six in an innings that lasted a shade under six-and-a-half hours. In scoring his 25th Test century, he surpassed the legendary Vivian Richards for career centuries and is only now one away from joining the incomparable Gary Sobers, who has 26.
Resuming on day two, West Indies were 179 for 3, Chanderpaul said a century was not on his mind at the start. "We actually set team goals and the team goals is actually what we were working towards. I didn't set any personal goals, I set team goals and the team goals would help us to achieve what ever we want to achieve individually," he said.
He praised the Australian attack, though it struggled for long periods as West Indies batted in partnerships. Part time leg-spinner David Warner snared 2 for 45 and fast bowler Ryan Harris, 2 for 83. "They are always a tough, tough opposition and you always have to fight. It's always [great] to do good against them," said the 37-year-old.
"You always want to do well. Against opposition like Australia … you have to bring your 'A' game, you can't just walk out deciding that you can play anyhow against them. You have to step up. It was pretty much a decent track. They bowled well on it, made you work hard for everything. They were disciplined so you had to work hard."
Chanderpaul now has the distinction of having scored the most runs at Kensington with 1374 runs from 16 Tests. He is also now just 188 runs shy of becoming only the second West Indies player behind Brian Lara to reach 10,000 Test runs. "Barbados is always a very good wicket to bat on once you get in. You just have to get in on it," he said.