When he resumes day two of the opening Test unbeaten on 219, West Indian opening batsman Chris Gayle will be setting his sights on beating his previous best score of 317.
He achieved that playing against South Africa in 2005 and following his boundary-filled innings in Galle on the opening day, he said:
“I’d love to get past 317. That would be a milestone. The pitch is an excellent one to bat on and I want to cash in. If I can get past the first hour tomorrow anything is possible. I want to bat on. I was pleased I batted all the way to the end of the day and I will be able to come back tomorrow. Before the tour I was aware that the only three teams I had not scored Test centuries against were Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India, so now I have one against Sri Lanka."
After reaching his 13th Test century, Gayle said he was delighted to have reached three figures in a country in which he had previously struggled.
“I was shouting out in glory and joy. I was really happy. The last time I toured here I did not get a half-century in the Test series and I struggled, so once I got this opportunity I was happy to reach the milestone. We had a good day but we have to keep going. We have to look for over 500 runs and we have to make sure that as a team we don’t give anything away.”
And by hitting eight sixes in an innings, he made history as no other West Indian had managed that in a Test match while one of his maximums travelled some 135 metres and although the attention was mostly focussed on him, Gayle was quick to pay tribute to youngsters Adrian Barath and Darren Bravo, who both scored half-centuries as the West Indies closed on 362 for two.
“Barath played really well at the top of the innings. At the start of the day we said we were looking to build big partnerships and he played very well. Young Bravo came in and showed a lot of maturity and understanding for someone in his first Test match. He handled himself very well in the middle.
“I would love to win a Test here in Sri Lanka. It won’t be easy, but what we have to do is to continue to build on what we did today and be positive in whatever we do. We have to build a big total, then look to get 10 wickets in the first innings and another 10 in the second innings. We have started well and we need to carry on.”
Gayle needs just three runs to set one record - the highest score by a West Indian against Sri Lanka, which currently remains the 221 scored by Brian Lara in November 2001.
81 more would see him join an illustrious list of players to have scored two Test match double-centuries - Sir Don Bradman, Lara and Virender Sehwag currently being the only ones to have done so.
© Cricket World 2010