Gayle blasts century to help Windies fight back
by Jinu Sabastian

Ground:Western Australia Cricket Association Ground, Perth
Scorecard:Australia v West Indies
Player:CH Gayle, MEK Hussey, MJ North, BJ Haddin
Event:West Indies in Australia 2009/10

DateLine: 17th December 2009


After being subjected to some very good batting from Australia, West Indies struck back as they raced to 214 for the loss of two wickets. Australia had declared their innings at 520 for the loss of seven wickets hoping that they could put West Indies under serious pressure but Chris Gayle had different ideas as he took the Australian bowlers by the scruff of their neck. The West Indian skipper had shown bucketful of patience in the previous Test as he curbed his natural stroke-making tendencies but today he seemed to be in a very punishing mood as he struck nine fours and six huge sixers.


Debutant McKay and spinner Hauritz were taken apart as the Windies skipper really enjoyed the moment. Earlier the none of the set Australian batsmen were able to convert their starts to triple figures as they fell to loose shots.


All eyes were on Hussey in the morning to see as to whether he would get to his century but the southpaw was undone by his lack of foot work as he nibbled at an away going delivery from Rampaul through to Ramdin. Hussey scored 82 in 172 balls with nine hits to the fence. North was joined at the crease by Brad Haddin and the wicket-keeper batsman wasted no time in making his presence felt with a barrage of boundaries. Haddin was sever on anything remotely short as he played rasping cuts and ferocious pulls to tame the West Indian bowlers especially the pacy Roach. North brought up his half-century of 77 balls via a streaky boundary through slips and was looking set for more.


While North was classy and unhurried, Haddin was brutal and was always on lookout for boundaries as he at one time raced to 35 in 18 balls with seven hits to the fence before calming down. The pair added quick fire 89 runs in 16.5 overs as North was approaching his century. On 68 North got a friendly full toss from Deonarine which he could have deposited anywhere in the ground but for some strange reason he patted it back tamely to the bowler who took the catch without much drama. In between Haddin got to his fifty in just 43 balls with nine hits to the fence and the dismissal of North forced him to slow down his pace of scoring. Haddin and Mitchell Johnson then focused on consolidating the position of strength as they worked the ball into the gaps for singles.


Just after lunch Benn and Haddin was involved in some unwanted altercation which ended with Johnson shoving Benn with his shoulder. This forced the on-field umpire Billy Bowden to step in and diffuse the matter and Gayle gently taking his bowler aside. After this incident Johnson and Haddin opened up their shoulders to cart the West Indian bowlers to all parts of the ground with some powerful blows. Haddin slammed a couple of sixes to get into the eighties and it seemed that the pugnacious right-hander was on course for a century. But once again the elusive century eluded from the grasp of the Australian batsmen like the Holy Grail as Haddin on 88 with feet stuck in the mud pushed at an innocuous delivery outside the off stump only to edge to Ramdin behind the stumps. Johnson threw his bat around for some time before he holed out in the deep looking for quick runs. With the score on 520 for the loss of seven wickets Ponting declared the innings.


The Windies in reply got off to a robust start with Chris Gayle leading the way. Travis Dowlin opened the innings in place of the injure Barath and the youngster did not disappoint. Chris Gayle did not waste much time as he played an aggressive upper cut over gully to get the West Indian innings underway. Though the tall southpaw played and missed regularly it did not deter Gayle from unleashing some stunning furious shots. In Adelaide Gayle played a subdued innings as that was the need of the hour but here he opted to go ballistic. Gayle flicked deliciously, drove handsomely and cut ferociously as the West Indian fifty was raised in just 34 minutes. Gayle continued to flay the Australian bowlers and he soon was acknowledging the crowd for his fifty which he reached with a stunning nonchalant flick over the square-leg boundary ropes of a fuming Bollinger.


The most awaited contest of the day was between off spinner Hauritz and Gayle as the latter had dismissed the off-spinner as a harmless bowler. Now it was time for Gayle back his words and he did by dismissing the off spinner with unhidden contempt twice in an over of successive balls straight over the bowler's head for two huge sixers. Gayle now switched into an aggressive mode as he turned his attention to the debutant McKay and gave him some harsh lessons in Test cricket. As Gayle got to his nineties the interest remained as to whether he would break Richards' record for the fastest century but he did not. Gayle finally got to his century in 70 balls, the fifth fastest, with a huge six as he deposited the helpless Hauritz into the Lille Marsh stand and his celebration which took more than a minute told how much he enjoyed the knock. Perhaps his mind was still savouring the knock when he tried to upper cut a bouncer from Bollinger but could only succeed in lobbing it tamely to Watson at point to be dismissed for an aggressive 102 of 72 balls which included nine fours and six sixers.


After the unfortunate exit of Gayle sanity returned to the proceedings as Dowlin and Ramnaresh Sarwan were content in getting the singles rather than going ballistic. Though Dowlin was overshadowed early by Gayle he did show his range of shots as he opened up with some well timed shots to the boundary. Dowlin got to his Test half-century in 113 balls with seven hits to the fence and he celebrated the feat with a powerful pull shot through square-leg. But he got out the next ball when he couldn't keep his cut shot down the ground and was pounced by Hussey at gully. Sarwan played some attractive shots on his way to an unbeaten 42 while Deonarine held firm as West Indies closed the day at 214 for 2.