Kraigg Brathwaite struck his fifth Test ton    Getty Images
Kraigg Brathwaite struck his fifth Test ton Getty Images

Amidst the gloom that surrounds West Indies cricket at the moment, Kraigg Brathwaite managed to lift his team to a position of authority in the third Test against Pakistan. Pakistan prior to this had won eight continuous games, across formats and one felt that this match would be a mere formality, but West Indies have sprung in a surprise this time around and have given the hosts a run for their money. West Indies have at times been good in the series, but they have not been able to maintain the consistency throughout the course. They often find themselves in a position, where they dominate and let their heads down soon after. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Pakistan vs West Indies, 2nd Test at Abu Dhabi

We have seen Brathwaite often play a lone hand at the top, with no support at the other end whatsoever. We saw that on a couple of occasions in the series against India and before that, many more times against Australia. Brathwaite has a good head over his shoulders and can bat for long, long periods of time. He is unfazed by the loss of wickets at the other end. He puts the bad balls away and blocks out the good ones. There is nothing flashy about him, but he is an effective player, nevertheless. Credit must also go to his club Barbados for shaping him in his younger days, who saw a lot of potential in this player and handed him a First-Class debut at the ripe age of 17. Almost seven years down the line, not only is he one of West Indies mainstays, but is also the vice-captain of the national side.

While Brathwaite quietly went about his business, his teammates, maybe barring a couple of players, never stepped up to the plate. This creates a lot of pressure on those few to perform and they too could not deliver every single time. Experienced campaigner Jerome Taylor s retirement just before the Test series against India too did not do the West Indies any favours. But West Indies cricket moved on. READ: Kraigg Brathwaite carries his bat to new record

It is not like they are short of talent. They have a few young players like Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood and Shane Dowrich coming up the ranks. In their limited careers, they have shown promise and will only mature to become better players as time goes on. There are of course players like Marlon Samuels, who continue to block a spot in spite being short of runs on the last 4-5 series. Samuels in his 16 years of international cricket and 72 Tests has scored lesser than what Joe Root has scored in just four years of Test cricket. Does West Indies really need a player like Samuels in their side at a time when they want to look to the future? I am not Courtney Browne, but the answer to that question should be a resounding No.

West Indies bowling department does not click on a regular basis. We have seen Shannon Gabriel getting the early breakthroughs, but does not get any sort of support from his partners. He once again led from the front initially in this match and got rid of Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq in the very first over of the match. Younis Khan and Sami Aslam managed to steady things up a bit, but Pakistan kept losing wickets at regular intervals and found themselves bundled out for 281. But that would not have counted for anything had West Indies been bundled out for, say 200. All the hardwork the bowlers put in would have gone waste had the batsmen not backed up their effort. Full Cricket Updates, PAK vs WI, 3rd Test, Day 3 at Sharjah

It was however a similar story for the West Indies with the bat. They lost wickets at regular intervals in the beginning. They were reduced to 68 for 4. Their lower order, which has at times come to the team s rescue made handy contributions, did so once again. Chase scored 50, Dowrich scored 47 and Bishoo s 27 helped West Indies inch closer to Pakistan s first innings total. Brathwaite on the other end was going about his business just fine. He never tried to shield the tail, and instead took the runs on offer to him every single time, which was perhaps a sensible thing to do.

Brathwaite carried his bat through the innings, finishing with an unbeaten 142, but more importantly, West Indies had gained a 56-run lead. This was the first time West Indies took a first innings lead in almost two years. But the job was just half done for West Indies. Their bowlers once again needed to do the job. Their skipper Jason Holder, perhaps bowled the spell of his life removing Younis Khan, Sami Aslam and Asad Shafiq in quick succession before Pakistan could wipe off the deficit. In fact West Indies were tottering at 48 for 4, when Misbah was dismissed by Chase. West Indies have also lifted their fielding a notch and there is a sense of urgency on the field, which one never saw in their recent matches. The closest they have come to winning a Test in the last year or so was the first Test of this series. They may not win or level the series with a win in this Test, but West Indies at this point will just take any win that comes their way.

Regardless of what happens in this match from here, West Indies will have perhaps finally know what it feels like when they click as a unit. When someone shoulders responsibility with the bat or the ball and the team backs them, West Indies could turn out to be a tough team to beat. However, the man to take up that responsibility today was Kraigg Brathwaite (Remember the name!)

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at He is a sports enthusiast and a keen observer of cricket, the contests, and its personalities. When not tracking cricket, he follows the world s soccer leagues and is somewhat partial towards Liverpool. His Twitter handle is @pramz)