Kraigg Brathwaite saw out an outstanding Suranga Lakmal spell in the morning, watched top-order colleagues play more adventurous innings, and struck up productive late partnerships with the lower-middle order men, as he provided the backbone to West Indies innings on day one, making 99 not out of 239 balls.
West Indies were 15 for 2 inside the first half-hour after John Campbell and Nkrumah Bonner succumbed to Lakmal, then later, were 120 for 4, and 222 for 7, often in danger of failing to make 300 on a track that held no serious terrors. But through each of these mini-crises, Brathwaite found partners who helped dig West Indies out of their rut, usually with much more aggression than Brathwaite himself mustered.
He posted a 71-run stand with Kyle Mayers, who hit a chancy 49. He was involved in a 51-run partnership with Jason Holder, who made a quick 30.
Then, late in the day, Rahkeem Cornwall joined Brathwaite for what became the as-yet-unbeaten 65-run association that propelled West Indies toward 300. Cornwall even helped Brathwaite see out six overs of the second new ball, as Cornwall struck 43 not out off 54 balls, surviving a very close lbw appeal – and subsequent review – off the last ball of the day. West Indies went to stumps at a respectable 287 for 7.
Summarized scores at Stumps-day one: West Indies 287 for 7 (Brathwaite 99*, Mayers 49, Cornwall 43*, Lakmal 3-71) vs Sri Lanka