Cricket

Bravo pleased with Gayle's thunder, disciplined bowling display

BY SANJAY MYERS Observer staff reporter

Saturday, June 29, 2013    

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IN his post-match comments, Sri Lanka's skipper Angelo Mathews summed it up in a neat, short package.

After watching helplessly as Christopher Gayle plundered 109 at better than a run a ball in the West Indies' comfortable six-wicket win, Mathews said: "When Gayle gets going, no attack is enough and no ground big enough."

That was the case in yesterday's Celkon Mobile Tri-Nation series opener at Sabina Park after nine fours and seven sixes flew off the left-hander's bat as West Indies made short work of Sri Lanka's 208.

It was Gayle's 21st One-Day International hundred as he extended his record as West Indies' top century-maker.

West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo acknowledged the 33-year-old as his trump card, and noted the importance of him taking the team to the cusp of victory at 181-1 before being dismissed.

He said Gayle's recent dip in form, which saw him getting decent starts, but not pushing on, was never a cause for worry.

"Obviously Chris is our best player... and he has been getting starts. As long as he is getting starts he is going to cash in, though it must have been in the back of his mind.

"He is an important player for us and I'm very happy he scored a hundred, and I'm happy he batted deep into the innings," Bravo told reporters at yesterday's press conference.

Spinner Sunil Narine grabbed 4-40 and pacer Ravi Rampaul shrugged off a scary roll of his ankle to end with 3-38 to lead the West Indies bowling.

Bravo, 29, credited his team's bowling display for dismissing the Sri Lankans, who boast the quality of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara in their batting line-up, for a modest total.

He suggested that the visitors' 62-run first-wicket stand was a minor blip in the context of Sri Lanka's great dependence on the veteran batsmen.

"They got off to a decent start, but I had in the back of my mind that once I got wickets it would stall the momentum of the Sri Lankan team.

"One (Jayawardene) batted at the top of the order... and Sangakkara batted at (number) three. They bat very close (together) and we know their (Sri Lanka's) lower order and middle order is not as experienced. So if we can expose them as quickly as possible we can continue taking wickets. They (Windies bowlers) set the tone for us," he said.

Tomorrow the West Indies meet reigning ICC World Cup champions India at the same venue in a highly-anticipated encounter.

Only two weeks ago, at the ICC Champions Trophy in England, the eventual winners, India, effortlessly raced to 236-2 to beat the West Indies with over 60 balls remaining.

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