West Indian medical sub Shamarh Brooks admits he hadn’t batted for two days before he was sent out to face a daunting Australian attack after his teammate was forced to retire hurt.
Brooks came to the crease hours after Nkrumah Bonner retired hurt following a heavy blow to the back of his helmet.
Bonner was struck by a Cameron Green bouncer early on day three in the First Test, but bravely batted on for another half-hour before reporting dizziness as he was taken from the ground.
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Brooks said he was too focused on “servicing” his teammates in the nets instead of batting himself before he was called upon with the match in the balance at 4-211.
“There was a bit of deliberation in terms of the situation – the captain came to me, I had the bib on the whole game and told me, ‘just prepare yourself to come and bat for the team’,” he said on Friday.
“I think that was just after lunch. Then the decision was made and I had to get myself mentally ready to go out there and do the business for the team.
“I was just servicing the players and making sure they were actually ready to do the job.
“My last hit would have been on the first day of the game. But between yesterday and today, I didn’t actually have a hit.
“Usually I would have a hit normally, but I was servicing the other guys because we know it’s a batting day today so I was just trying to get the other batters ready. Other guys were having a hit in the nets.”
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The 34-year-old, who is yet to cement himself in the West Indies line up, said he “enjoyed” the challenge of facing up to the Australians.
“I wouldn’t say it was a rude awakening but it was a good start for me in terms of facing the guys in my first time playing cricket in Australia,” he said.
“I just basically played a lot of things that I saw in my mind over the last day and a half (in the field) and looked at some of the areas the guys were bowling – that was in terms of getting myself ready.
“It was a very good challenge out there today.”
Bonner is recovering after the Green strike, with the team manager confirming he was “up and about” after the brutal blow.
Brooks said he hoped he could emulate the likes of Australian batsman Marnus Labuschagne, who got his start as a concussion sub for Steve Smith in the Ashes – and has held his spot since.
“Yeah definitely, we still have a second innings to be played,” he said.
“What can I say, it’s just to go out there and give a good account. Try my best to save the game for the team or whatever the situation may be at that time.”
Brooks said his focus was now to try and “save” the Test for the West Indies.
“(Australia) having a 300-plus runs as a lead I guess might be a bit of a reach in terms of winning the game. I think we just need to try to restrict them as much as possible and set up our shot to save the game over the next day and a half,” he said.
“Four or five sessions, I think that is what they will give us because I think it’s still a good batting pitch.”
Australia are 1-29 heading into day four, with an overall lead of 344 runs.