Gayle ton revives Windies

Napier, December 22:

West Indies captain Chris Gayle made a timely return to the century ranks to ensure a final day showdown in the second Test against New Zealand here today.

Gayle, unbeaten on 146 — his first century from 24 Tests in three years — provided more than half of the West Indies total as they ended the fourth day at 278-7 in their second innings, for an overall lead of 214.

New Zealand felt in with a chance to end the West Indies innings before the final day when they had the tourists at 106-4. But they were thwarted by a valuable 124-run stand for the fifth wicket by Gayle and Brendan Nash. With no Shivnarine Chanderpaul to rely on after the world’s most prolific batsman in the past two years fell on the first ball, Gayle and Nash dug in to bring the West Indies back into the Test.

By the close of play Gayle had been at the wicket for nearly five-and-a-half hours in an innings that included 13 fours and six sixes. Nash, in only his second Test, provided valuable support for Gayle as they stayed together for 55 overs, batting right through the middle session.

The partnership was broken soon after when a James Franklin bouncer clipped Nash on the gloves and went straight to Jamie How at second slip.