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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gayle's quickfire century ruffles Australian bowlers' feathers as Windies chase big total

West Indies 2/214 (46 ov, C Gayle 102, T Dowlin 55) trail Australia 7/520 dec (130.4 ov, S Katich 99, Watson 89, Haddin 88, Hussey 82, North 68) by 306 runs on first innings with 8 wickets in hand: T3 D2 at Perth

Watch as much of Chris Gayle's 102/70b (6x6, 9x4) as you can on TV or YouTube (where he already features prominently, though mostly in coloured clothing ). The six with which he brought up his century (the fifth fastest in Test cricket in terms of recorded balls faced) by driving Nathan Hauritz onto the roof of the Lillee-Marsh Stand was the most memorable of many strokes and, deservedly, the one most likely to be replayed.

For the second successive Test Gayle has energised his team, keeping them competitive in the face of a large Australian total, albeit one which did not include either a century or substantial contributions from the captain and vice-captain. Today it was Mike Hussey, Brad Haddin and Marcus North who couldn't reach three figures. Hussey, who probably didn't sleep too well overnight, was caught behind off the diligent Ravi Rampaul for 82/176b (9x4), Haddin drove well for 88/91b (2x6, 11x4) which might have been the day's batting highlight but for Gayle, while North hit a slow full toss back to the bowler when looking well set on 68/117b (8x4). This
was as soft a dismissal as you're likely to see in any form of cricket.

The Australian bowling wasn't as bad as Gayle and Travis Dowling made it look. Doug Bollinger, Nathan Hauritz (who had Gayle dropped at slip) and Clint McKay had their moments while Mitchell Johnson, as so often happens with him, had one when he enticed Dowling to hit a catch to gully for an assured 55/116b.

The West Indies have made a bold start by batting positively and, at least for a while, ruffling the Australian attack's feathers. Toward the end Ramnaresh Sarwan looked in good nick but they are still a long way behind. Still, 6/395 in a day's play gave the spectators their money's worth and may even deflect some media attention from an on field incident .

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