Tue, Nov 16, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Gayle blows away Sri Lanka attack

AFP, GALLE, SRI LANKA

West Indies batsman Chris Gayle reacts after scoring a century during yesterday’s first day of the first Test between Sri Lanka and the West Indies in Galle, Sri Lanka.

PHOTO: AFP

Chris Gayle put Sri Lanka’s attack to the sword with an explosive double-century as the West Indies posted a huge 362-2 on the opening day of the first Test yesterday.

He hammered eight sixes and 26 fours in his 247-ball 219 not out for his 13th three-figure knock in Tests, and his first in the sub-continent, as the tourists made the most of winning the toss on a good batting pitch.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul was unbeaten on 20 at the close of play.

Gayle’s score was also his best in an away Test, surpassing 197 against New Zealand at Napier in 2008, and his second-highest overall after his triple-century against South Africa at home in 2005.

Openers Gayle and Adrian Barath (50) put on 110 after Darren Sammy won the toss in his first Test as captain, only the West Indies’ second century partnership for the opening wicket in the last four years.

Former skipper Gayle then consolidated his team’s position with a record 196-run stand for the second wicket with debutant Darren Bravo, who scored a solid 58.

Darren Bravo reached his 50 when he drove unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis through the covers for four. He hit six fours before being caught by Thilan Samaraweera at deep square-leg off Mendis while trying to pull.

Sri Lanka, playing their first Test series after the retirement of match-winning spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, only managed to grab two wickets in three sessions.

Off-spinner Muralitharan quit Test cricket in July with a world-record 800 wickets and his replacement Suraj Randiv has rarely put pressure on the West Indies.

Randiv removed Barath in the morning session, but conceded 144 runs in his 32 overs. Mendis finished the day with 1-90 off 29 overs.

Sri Lankan seamers Thilan Thushara and Dammika Prasad also failed to test the West Indies as Gayle, Barath and Bravo gathered runs comfortably to put their team on course for a big total.

Gayle dominated the Sri Lankan attack with a wide range of attacking strokes and completed his century in the afternoon when he hoisted Randiv over long-off for the second six in the over.

He reached his double-century with a single off Mendis.

The 20-year-old Barath, who scored a century on Test debut against Australia at Brisbane last year, looked solid during his 86-ball knock before falling in the penultimate over of the morning session.

Barath, playing only his third Test, was surprised by extra bounce and was caught by Mahela Jayawardene at first slip off Randiv after hitting eight fours.

INDIA V NEW ZEALAND

REUTERS, HYDERABAD, INDIA

New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum stood firm with his sixth Test hundred yesterday to leave the second Test against India evenly poised.

At the close on the penultimate day, New Zealand had reached 237 for four to take an overall lead of 115. McCullum (124) and Kane Williamson (12) were at the crease.

McCullum and his opening partner Tim McIntosh wiped off India’s lead of 122 runs with their first century partnership of the series.

An attacking McCullum and a watchful McIntosh (49) added 125 for the first wicket before the latter got an inside edge off his pads to be caught at short leg off Pragyan Ojha.

McCullum hit 11 boundaries and three sixes during his unbeaten knock. He toned down his approach as the ball got old and the hosts started making breakthroughs.

Ojha earned his second wicket when Martin Guptill (18) got an edge to India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps.

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