Wed, Dec 24, 2008 - Page 19 News List

Gayle’s 197 ensures West Indies save Test in Napier

AFP , NAPIER, NEW ZEALAND

A masterful 197 by Chris Gayle saved the West Indies and ensured a drawn series as New Zealand gave up their run chase yesterday with nine overs remaining in the second cricket Test.

Facing a target of 312 in 60 overs, New Zealand passed the 200 mark with 16 overs left but dropped off the pace when Brendon McCullum, their last hard-hitting batsman, fell to a questionable dismissal.

When captains Gayle and Daniel Vettori agreed to call the players in, New Zealand were 220 for five.

The result meant both Tests were drawn but the second Test could have gone down to the wire had McCullum not been given out in a series which served as a trial for players to appeal to the third umpire in an attempt to overturn wrongful dismissals.

The batsman was given out caught behind for 19 and McCullum referred the decision to the third umpire, Mark Benson, who found no reason to overturn the original finding.

However under the rules Benson could refer only to the normal camera coverage and could not access the sensitive “snicko” equipment, which did not detect any connection between bat and ball.

Both Gayle and Vettori drew positives from the series.

“This is an achievement to come out here and get a draw,” Gayle said. “I would love to get a win but these things happen.”

And Vettori believed the series was valuable for New Zealand’s rebuilding program.

“We weren’t quite at the top of our game but I think this Test match here proved to us if we continue with those performances then later in the summer against India we can get a Test match win under our belt,” he said.

When the West Indies resumed the final day at 278 for seven New Zealand had visions of wrapping up the innings quickly but Gayle had other ideas.

With stoic support from Edwards, they forged a 70-run partnership for the eighth wicket before Gayle’s eight and a half hours at the crease ended in freakish circumstances.

He turned a loose delivery from off-spinner Patel down the leg side but the ball hit the foot of wicketkeeper McCullum and bounced up into his gloves.

When the West Indies innings ended at 375 just on lunch, New Zealand were left facing a mammoth 312 run chase in 60 overs.

After a shaky start, with first-innings centurion Tim McIntosh out for three in the third over, Jamie How and Daniel Flynn set about their work in earnest.

After taking 19 off one over by Edwards How undid the good work when he called Flynn through for a quick single, only to see his partner run out for 33.

Four overs later How was also back in the pavilion for 54 when he edged Edwards to Gayle at first slip.

Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor then accepted the challenge, piling on 74 runs in the next 15 overs before Taylor was trapped leg before wicket by Sulieman Benn for 46.

McCullum joined Ryder to add 37 in the next seven overs, but with McCullum’s dismissal the steam went out of the New Zealand run chase.

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