Monday 22 December 2008 

Gayle Century Keeps West Indies In With A Chance

Gayle Century Keeps West Indies In With A Chance
Gayle Century Keeps West Indies In With A Chance
© Action Images / Reuters / Andy Clark Picture Supplied by Action Images
West Indies captain Chris Gayle scored his first Test century since 2005 to lead the tourists to 278 for seven at stumps on the fourth day of the second Test against New Zealand in Napier.

Gayle (146 not out) bludgeoned 13 fours and cleared the boundary six times during his highly entertaining innings to give the West Indies a lead of 214 and an outside chance of a surprise victory.

Brendan Nash hit 65 as the pair batted through the afternoon session.

Gayle's century was his eighth in Test cricket, but his first since he scored 317 against South Africa in April 2005.

The West Indies captain, renowned for his aggressive batting, played a more responsible innings after the loss of prolific run scorer Shivnarine Chanderpaul for a duck.

West Indies began the day at 62 for two, still trailing New Zealand by two runs, but Gayle and Xavier Marshall quickly wiped off the deficit and began to establish a handy lead.

The pair put on 55 at a fast pace until New Zealand off-spinner Jeetan Patel caught the edge of a lunging Marshall and first slip Ross Taylor taking a comfortable catch.

Patel then claimed the prize wicket of Chanderpaul the very next ball with probably his worst delivery of the match, a full toss which the left-hander spooned back to a delighted bowler.

Nash survived the hat-trick ball and grew increasingly confident against the New Zealand attack, hitting eight fours as he notched up his second half-century of the match.

However, New Zealand hit back after tea as James Franklin dismissed Nash and Denesh Ramdin (6) before Jerome Taylor was trapped in front by Iain O'Brien for eight which left Gayle batting alongside Fidel Edwards (1 not out) overnight.

The first Test in Dunedin was drawn.

© Reuters / Cricket World 2008