All Gayle at Galle
Galle, Sri Lanka - All the talk about West Indian batsmen inability to cope with the Sri Lankan spinners in Asian conditions was brought to nought by Chris Gayle on the opening day at Galle.
Gayle massacred the inexperienced Sri Lankan bowling attack for an unbeaten 219 – from 247 balls with 26 fours and eight sixes – at the end of day one as the West Indies closed on a commanding 362 for 2.
Gayle started his innings slowly, taking 19 balls to get off the mark, but his first 40 runs were scored through a combination of seven fours and two sixes. The big Jamaican left hander took 61 deliveries to get to his first fifty and by then he had struck another boundary.
Gayle reached the century with his fifth maximum off Suruj Randiv as he spent 116 deliveries getting to the landmark and by that time he registered a dozen fours. In the same over he took 18 runs off Randiv’s off spin, smashing two sixes and a four.
Gayle never relented after getting to the century, moving to the double from 221 balls with 23 fours and eight sixes before lowering the gears towards the close of play.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul is the other not out batsman and he has 20 from 56 deliveries.
Gayle and Adrian Barath put on 110 for the first wicket – only the second hundred opening stand for the Windies in four years – as Barath stroked an even fifty from 86 balls with eight boundaries. Barath was caught at slip by Mahela Jayawardene off the bowling of off spinner Suruj Randiv.
The debutant Darren bravo then arrived at the crease and excited the crowd with his flamboyance, he too registering a half century off 133 balls with five fours. He fell for 58 from 159 balls with six fours after adding 96 for the second wicket with Gayle.
There were no other successes for the Sri Lankans as Chanderpaul, in typical fashion blunted his end as Gayle played with positive intent.
Randiv ended the day with 1 for 144 from 32 overs while Ajantha Mendis took the wicket of Bravo for 90 runs from 29 overs as the Sri Lankans were clearly missing their champion spinner and world record holder Muttiah Muralitharan who retired from the game earlier in the year after taking 800 Test wickets.
West Indies started the day in positive fashion with new captain Darren Sammy winning the toss and batting on what looked as good pitch to score runs on. Gayle proved the point throughout the day.
In addition to Darren Bravo, Windies handed a Test debut to Jamaican fast bowling all rounder Andre Russell who is expected to share the new ball with Kemar Roach.