'We've got to be more positive to McGrath', Gayle
Chris Gayle will have surgery to correct the irregular heartbeat that forced him to retire hurt when the three-Test series finishes this month. Experiencing dizziness and a quickening of his heartbeat, Gayle left the field at the first drinks break to see a doctor and was cleared to resume his innings when Brian Lara was third-man out.
"It's a thing that's been happening over the years," Gayle said. "Sometimes [my heart] tends to race a bit harder than normal, but it's nothing to worry about and after this series I'll get [the operation] over with." The treatment is "minor" and not expected to rule Gayle out of the New Zealand tour starting in February.
Gayle played more patiently after he was criticized for his casual attitude during the first Test and he was disappointed his innings was interrupted by his retirement when on 18. "It was a distraction for me while batting but I had to come off and take it from there," he said. When he returned he planted Shane Warne for two sixes and brought up his half-century with a cover drive, the second from the over, off Andrew Symonds's medium pace.
Gayle's 56 was the standout effort of a disappointing display as West Indies slumped from 3 for 119 to 149 on a pitch both teams agreed was ideal for batting. "It was a bad day and we just had a team meeting and the guys are looking forward to tomorrow," Gayle said. "Hopefully the guys can rebuild and restrict the Aussies as much as possible."
"Outfoxed" by a Glenn McGrath back-of-the-hand slower ball, Gayle was trapped lbw, although the delivery was sailing down the leg side. McGrath, whose last wicket in a Test with this type of delivery was Devon Malcolm in 1997, troubled West Indies with a suffocating line that restricted their strokeplay and he returned an impressive 4 for 31 off 23 overs. "He's nagging and we've got to be more positive to McGrath," Gayle said. "We can't allow him to bowl where he wants to bowl. It was very tough today even though it was a good wicket to bat on. Credit to the Aussies, but we didn't bat properly."
The speed of West Indies' capitulation surprised McGrath but he said their plan to bowl aggressively at a weak tail had worked. "We have done pretty well but their strength definitely lies with their top-order batting," he said. "They really need to score runs to allow their bowlers to bowl at something and so far it hasn't really happened."
Brian Lara's form is becoming an increasing concern for West Indies and McGrath noticed his 36-year-old opponent was not as sure at the start of his innings. "I'd never say the best has passed because he's a class player," he said. "He seems to be more shakier but Brett Lee bowled exceptionally well to him. It's one of those things with Brian, you never seem to know, sometimes he can go on to get a big hundred and has done that to us in the past."
McGrath felt in rhythm from his fifth over of the day during an opening spell of 11 overs that gave up only 11 runs. "I felt good, although I was a bit tired at the end of the day," he said. "I kept demanding more overs from Ricky." McGrath narrowly missed a five-for as the final wicket went to Brett Lee while Stuart MacGill also picked up three victims.
Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo