July 10, 2001

Gayle's best marred by injury blow


Opener Chris Gayle bounced back from his first innings 0 to hit a double century on the second day of the West Indians' game against a Zimbabwe President's XI at the country club Harare.

At the close the 21-year-old left-hander was unbeaten on a career best 259, having struck 40 boundaries in his 297-ball stay. It was a perfect warm-up for the opener prior to the First Test on July 19th.

The West Indies had a lead of 520 by the close of play. The President's XI captain, Mluleki Nkala, tried nine different bowlers but none of them could contain the rampant Gayle who brought up his seventh first-class century with his 17th boundary, a rasping cut off Viljoen.

Earlier the President's XI declared having extended their overnight 110-8 to 128-9, with Reon King removing Paul Strang to finish with 3-22 to enhance his Test hopes.

The tourists added 55 for the first wicket, but then suffered a double blow as Nkala plucked out Garrick and Hinds.

But Gayle was soon into his stride and received excellent support from Shiv Chanderpaul, who brought up his half-century in the same over as Gayle's ton.

The pair added 142 before Strang trapped Chanderpaul lbw with the score on 208, a lead of 271. Samuels followed soon afterwards, in the same way, but Ramnaresh Sarwan joined Gayle, and the pair added a brisk 146 with Sarwan striking 13 boundaries before he was caught behind off Gary Brent for 76.

The West Indies' day was marred by the news that Mervyn Dillon will be forced to return home with a knee injury. He injured the knee during Saturday's Coca-Cola Cup final.

Brain Lara, Kerry Jeremy and Cameron Cuffy have already been forced home with injury problems.