Gayle ton sets Windies on course for big total

GALLE, Sri Lanka - Former captain Chris Gayle cracked a century off 116 balls as West Indies continued to pile on the runs on the first day of the opening test against Sri Lanka on Monday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Mon 15 Nov 2010, 5:26 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:47 AM

Gayle’s maiden test hundred in the subcontinent took West Indies to a healthy 238 for one wicket at the tea interval with the flamboyant batsman unbeaten on 145, scored off 157 balls with 19 fours and six sixes.

Partnering Gayle in an unbroken second wicket stand of 128 was debutant Darren Bravo, who added a far more sedate 32 runs to the total.

The afternoon session belonged to the tall left-hander, who flayed the Sri Lanka bowling to all parts of the ground in an effortless display of batting on a placid pitch.

He moved from 83 to his 13th test hundred in a matter of five balls, smashing Ajantha Mendis for a four and two sixes in an over that cost the spinner 18 runs.

He celebrated his century with arms raised, then flashed a broad grin and took off his helmet and lay down flat on the ground for sometime as the dressing room applauded.

Gayle’s previous highest score in the sub-continent was 93 against Pakistan at Multan in 2006.

The nearest Sri Lanka came to dismissing Gayle was when they used the referral system for an lbw decision against him at 65 but television replays showed the batsman getting a thick inside edge onto his pads.

Bravo, who is a distant relation of the former West Indian great Brian Lara, gave Gayle excellent support playing the passive role in comparison to his dominant partner.

Gayle was severe on the two Sri Lankan spinners Suraj Randiv and Mendis hitting them for five of his six sixes as they conceded 143 runs between them.

After new captain Darren Sammy had won the toss and elected too bat, Gayle and Adrian Barath (50) posted only the second century opening partnership for West Indies in the last four years to give the visitors a solid platform.

Barath, who was dropped on 35 by Randiv off a head-high return catch, brought up his half-century off 82 balls before the same bowler had him caught at slip by Mahela Jayawardene when he surprised the batsman with some extra bounce.

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