'I'd love to get to that 317' - Gayle
Chris Gayle, playing his first Test after being replaced as captain, harboured hopes of a maiden Test win for West Indies on Sri Lankan soil after scoring his third Test double-century on the opening day of the first Test at Galle on Monday.
"It would be nice to get a Test win in Sri Lanka but it won't be easy. You've got to get ten wicket- taking deliveries and move on to get another ten. We still have four more days to go we'll have to continue and build on this," said Gayle who scored 219 not out of West Indies' total of 362 for 2.
Sri Lanka beat the West Indies 3-0 in 2001, despite West Indies scoring over 400 runs twice in the series, something Gayle had clearly not forgotten. "Brian [Lara] scored over 600 runs in the series but we lost all three Test matches. At the same time we got about 400 runs here [Galle] in the first Test the last time I was here, but we still lost the Test match.
"We still have that in mind so we are not taking anything for granted. It was a good day for us so we just have a try and get about 500 runs and get a good start."
Gayle also expressed his desire to set a new career best. "I'd love to get to that 317 that would be a milestone. The wicket's still good to bat on and the spinners are getting a bit more bounce and turn. We'll see tomorrow, if we can get past the first hour anything is possible."
The century was Gayle's first in the subcontinent and he was thrilled to have finally managed the feat. "I was aware of that I had not scored a hundred against all three teams. I was keen to score a Test century against Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India. Coming here I was definitely looking forward to that first break. When I got it I was very pleased and to be batting right to the end.
"The last time I toured here I didn't get any runs. I didn't get a half century in the Test and I struggled. When I got an opportunity like this it was very happy and thrilling for me to actually get past the milestone."
Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss heaped praise on Gayle but was critical of the way Sri Lanka bowled in the first session. "He's obviously a class player and a strong hitter and a devastating batsman when he gets going. Today was his day. We beat the bat a few times especially earlier with a couple of top-edges, and on another day if something goes to the hand you are away.
"My point of view is I was disappointed with the way we went about things in the first session, which put us behind the eight ball. We gave a guy like that a bit of a start where he would go from strength to strength.
"I thought the six or seven overs we bowled quite well to the lines and lengths that we wanted to. We got away from that after that first six or seven overs. It was a wicket that if you were slightly short or off line or full, with a fast outfield it was four runs."
Bayliss said that with Angelo Mathews unable to bowl because of a leg strain, Sri Lanka struggled with four bowlers on a placid pitch. "When we first played here we had four bowlers as well. If we go with five bowlers and five batters, and if we didn't have enough runs on the board, everyone will start saying why you went with five batters only. It's something that without Angi [Mathews] being able to bowl puts us at a disadvantage."