Gayle's epic 333 takes Windies to 580 for 9

Galle, Sri Lanka - Chris Gayle made an epic 333 – the best score of his career – as West Indies piled on the runs on day two of the opening Test against Sri Lanka at the Galle National Stadium.

Gayle, who resumed on 219 added another 114 runs and faced a total of 437 balls while hammering 34 power-packed boundaries and nine mighty sixes as the Windies gorged themselves to 580 for 9 declared.

Gayle’s triple century is the second of his career, surpassing the 317 he made against South Africa at the Antigua Recreation Ground in 2005. He is the fourth batsman in the history of Test cricket to score two triple centuries, the other three being West Indian maestro and world record holder Brian Lara (400 & 375), Australian super batsman Don Bradman (334 & 304) and Indian destroyer Virender Sehwag (319 & 309).

Three other batsmen – Brendan Nash (64), Darren Bravo (58), Adrian Barath (50) – made half century contributions but while critical in building substantial partnerships with Gayle, they each paled in comparison to Gayle’s monumental and historic knock.

Gayle is only one of four West Indians to have scored triple centuries (Lara, Sir Garfield Sobers and Lawrence Rowe being the others) and is the only West Indian to have scored a triple century outside the Caribbean. It is also the fourth highest score by a West Indian following Lara’s 400 and 375 and Sobers’ 365.

The big left hander added 167 with vice captain Nash who stroked 64 from 159 balls with five fours, the pair having got together following the loss of Shivnarine Chanderpaul for 32 (392 for 3).

Windies suffered an all too familiar slump towards the end before the declaration. By the close the Sri Lankans faced 12.2 overs and put on 54 for the loss of Tillakaratne Dilshan for a duck. Dilshan was taken at mid on in fine fashion by Shane Shillingford off debutant Andre Russell’s second ball in Test cricket. Sri Lanka are now 526 runs behind with nine wickets in hand and three days remaining.

Captain Kumar Sangakkara is not out on an ominous 33 from 32 balls with seven commanding fours while opener Tharanga Paranavitana has 10.
From their overnight 362 for 2, the Caribbean side lost seven wickets in the day and dropped from 559 for 3 to 580 for 9, losing six wickets for 21 runs before calling an end to the innings.

Nash fell to leave the score 559 for 4, it then became 565 for 5 when Dwayne Bravo (5), like Nash, went lbw to Ajantha Mendis who finished the innings with 6 for 169 from a marathon 59 overs.

Mendis was then on fire as he was on a hat trick after bowling Gayle with a quicker delivery and knocking back captain Darren Sammy’s off stump first ball.

Mendis also bowled Russell for 2 and Suraj Randiv (3 for 183 from 48.2 overs) got Shane Shillingford for 1 when the declaration came.

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