West Indies news February 5, 2012

Gayle says first-class century felt like Test ton

ESPNcricinfo staff

Chris Gayle has said his century for Jamaica against Windward Islands in the Regional four-day competition in the West Indies felt like a Test hundred. It was Gayle's first first-class match in over a year; the last was in a Test in Pallekele in December 2010. Since then, Gayle has enjoyed success in the Twenty20 format but he proved his credentials in the longer format at Sabina Park, where his 165 off 155 balls is the only score over 50 in the match so far.

Gayle tweeted that the hundred was particularly special because it was his first against Windwards, meaning he now has centuries against all the Caribbean teams.

His innings, on the second day, came after both Jamaica and Windwards had failed to go past 200 in their first innings - Jamaica had a 21-run lead. The rest of Jamaica's batsmen struggled again in their second attempt, and Gayle's 165 made up the bulk of the 262 for 7 they had reached by stumps. He slammed 14 sixes and eight fours, hooking and cutting the fast bowlers and lofting the spinners down the ground.

"It was a class innings," Windward Islands captain Liam Sebastian said. "In fact, it was the only real innings of note, as apart from André Russell, who was 20-odd not out towards the end, no other player really bothered us."

Gayle's desire to play the long format has been questioned in the past - he once turned up to captain West Indies in a Test the morning before the game because he was playing the IPL. He answered those criticisms with a triple-century in Galle on the tour of Sri Lanka in 2010, but since that tour has not played Test cricket due to an ongoing impasse with the West Indies Cricket Board.

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