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AUS vs WI 1st Test Brathwaite Shamar Joseph ‘gave a lot of confidence to the team’

Joseph and McKenzie were the shining lights in West Indies’ ten-wicket loss at Adelaide Oval, which handed Australia a 1-0 series lead. Joseph became just the 14th player in Test history, and the first West Indian, to take a five-wicket haul and score more than 50 runs on Test debut having made 36 and 15 batting at No. 11 in both innings after taking five wickets in Australia’s only innings.

McKenzie made his maiden half-century in just his second Test match. He was one of only two players in the entire match to pass 50 on a difficult Adelaide Oval pitch. He looked comfortable in both innings against Australia’s attack, which bowled superbly throughout.

“It shows them that they can do it,” Brathwaite said after the match. “Kirk got a 50 and 20-odd [26] in the second. So it shows that he has the ability to score runs against world-class bowlers. And the other guys didn’t get runs but from watching Kirk they know now that we could get it done.

“Because it’s all mental. We played some shots where I believe the shot was on but we edged it. So whether it was nerves, obviously a little poor execution, but I think it could give the batters confidence to know that they could do it.

“[Joseph’s] belief is amazing. If all the guys could have that that’d be great. But he’s obviously a special, special guy and he gave a lot of confidence to the team as well when you see him playing his shots and for the batters I just want them to go out there and enjoy themselves.”

Brathwaite had further praise for Joseph’s all-round performance, particularly his bowling.

“It’s a great start to his international career and he has a bright future for the West Indies,” Brathwaite said. “I wasn’t surprised. I really believe he’s something special. And I was very happy for him.”

It was a surprise that Joseph was not given the new ball in the second innings when Australia needed just 25 runs to win. He bowled well again in the ten balls he eventually bowled after coming on in the sixth over, beating the bat several times and hitting Usman Khawaja in the helmet.

Brathwaite said there was a thought to give him the new ball and hinted he may do so in Brisbane in the second Test.

“Obviously he got Steve Smith with his first ball,” Brathwaite said. “So there was a temptation and you never know.”

Brathwaite was also pleased with the performances of his other debutants, Kavem Hodge and Justin Greaves, despite neither having a major impact on the game. He was typically pragmatic about the challenges facing his young West Indies side.

“I think it’s good for the guys to get out there and play and experience what it is to play international cricket,” Brathwaite said. “It’s great to be playing against the number one team in the world because you pretty much know where you stand after here. I was very, very pleased with what I saw from those debutants.”

Brathwaite once again reiterated the need for West Indies to have more Tests scheduled, particularly back-to-back series, so his players can get some continuity without having to wait six months in between two-Test assignments.

He also hoped curators in the Caribbean could produce pitches with more bounce and carry to encourage more youngsters like Joseph to emerge in first-class cricket and to help prepare West Indies batters for trips to Australia in the future.

“I think one thing that would be great for us is we just got to produce some good pitches in the Caribbean,” Brathwaite said. “Some pitches that have some bounce so that we can produce more Shamar Josephs and not just a lot of spinners. Because pretty much in our first-class cricket in the first hour, the ball is spinning.

“Our pitches are obviously getting better and they did improve in the last two years and if we continue to get them to have some pace in it, fast bowlers enjoy themselves and get some pace and balls bouncing to the keeper well and not just carrying knee height, I think all of that together will help us to produce more fast bowlers because it gives them a lot of confidence.”

Alex Malcolm is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo

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