Gayle, Powell centuries give Windies controlJuly 28th, 2012 - 1:14 pm ICT by IANS
North Sound (Antigua), July 28 (IANS/CMC) Openers Chris Gayle and Kieran Powell plundered career-defining hundreds with dominant batting, putting the West Indies in a superior position against New Zealand in the first Test here.
Gayle celebrated his long-awaited return to Test whites with an even 150 - his 14th hundred in Tests - and Kieran Powell fulfilled his immense promise with 134 - his maiden hundred - to build the foundation on which the West Indies reached 442 for six Friday, replying to New Zealand’s first innings total of 351, at the close on the third day, CMC reports.
Assad Fudadin, another left-hander, enhanced his reputation with a resolute 55, Narsingh Deonarine was not out on 54, and Marlon Samuels made 28 to underline the West Indies’ dominance on a true Vivian Richards Cricket Ground pitch.
Before lunch, Gayle, playing a Test for the first time in more than 19 months, reached his milestone from 149 balls, when he greeted Chris Martin’s first ball of the day, a short, rising delivery, with a pull high over mid-wicket for his second six.
He removed his helmet and held his arms aloft in triumph for several seconds before waving his bat to the four corners of the ground in celebration.
After lunch, Powell, playing in only his 10th Test, gave the modest crowd reason to celebrate for the second time in the day, when he reached his hundred in the second over after lunch.
A graduate from the first class of the Sagicor West Indies High Performance Centre, he authoritatively pulled an innocuous short, rising delivery from Neil Wagner through backward square leg for his 16th four, before running down the pitch, leaping and punching in the air in joy.
The two tall, easy-going left-handers put on 254 for the first wicket - the highest West Indies opening stand since Gayle and Daren Ganga put on 214 against Zimbabwe 11 years ago in Bulawayo.
After the West Indies resumed from their overnight total of 145 without loss, Gayle lofted New Zealand’s bespectacled, champion left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori for a six over long-off to move to 95 before dispatching Martin to reach his hundred.
Powell showed his class with a few well-executed boundaries after a 20-minute stoppage, when rain offered New Zealand temporary respite about 40 minutes after the start.
He struck two boundaries in Martin’s 13th over before he moved into the 90s, when he scorched the turf with a firm sweep off Vettori through mid-wicket for his 15th four.
But it was not all one-way traffic for West Indies, as the Black Caps’ bowlers, Wagner and Vettori in particular, bowled purposeful spells, and came close to making the breakthrough just prior to lunch.
Gayle, on 142, again had a huge slice of fortune, when wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk and Ross Taylor both failed to grab a chance, after he edged playing defensively forward to Kane Williamson’s part-time off-spin.
Next delivery, Powell too, almost gifted his wicket on 95, when he popped a delivery from the same bowler just over the head of the mid-wicket fielder off the leading edge, as the West Indies reached 245 without loss at the interval.
After lunch, Powell followed up Gayle with his hundred before New Zealand claimed them, as West Indies reached 352 for two at tea.
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- Gayle survives chance, leads Windies reply - Jul 27, 2012
- Roach, Gayle fire West Indies to victory - Jul 30, 2012
- West Indies eyeing first clean sweep in ten years (Preview) - Aug 02, 2012
- Gayle impressed with Powell's century - Jul 31, 2012
- Rain plays spoilsport in Port of Spain Test - Apr 20, 2012
- Rain wrecks Windsor Park debut - Jul 07, 2011
- Roach leads Windies demolition of Black Caps - Aug 03, 2012
- Bravo sparkles but Windies collapse against Lions - May 11, 2012
- Powell's century leaves India A in a tight spot - Jun 18, 2012
- Samuels puts West Indies on course for victory - Aug 05, 2012
- Sammy's half-century in vain as Aussies wrap up series - Apr 28, 2012
- Put in, India A barely manage 230 in third 'Test' (Lead) - Jun 17, 2012
- Edwards out, Ramdin returns as Windies vice captain - Jul 23, 2012
- Edwards replaces Rampaul for Jamaica Test - Jul 31, 2012
Tags: 19 months, assad, bulawayo, chris gayle, chris martin, cmc, daren ganga, first test, high performance centre, immense promise, kieran, left hander, long awaited return, marlon samuels, sagicor, square leg, superior position, vivian richards, west indies, wicket