West Indies v New Zealand, 1st Test, Antigua, 2nd day July 26, 2012

Gayle 'takes all the pressure off' - Powell

ESPNcricinfo staff

The opener Kieran Powell has said he needed to divorce himself from Chris Gayle's brisk scoring to ensure he did not throw his own wicket away on the second day in Antigua. West Indies will now set their sights on batting into day four after making such a strong start to the first innings against New Zealand, with the total having reached 145 for 0 at stumps on the second day.

It was already the highest opening stand in a Test by a West Indies pair since Gayle and Daren Ganga added 162 in Multan in November 2006. The performance highlighted the importance to the West Indies side of Gayle, who was playing his first Test in more than 18 months, and he moved along to 85 from 124 deliveries while Powell shuffled along at his own pace to 58 from 164.

"It's a big relief because it takes all the pressure off your scoring," Powell said of having Gayle at the top of the order. "The shots you see him play, you just have to put yourself in your own bubble and get away from that or you try and do things and get out. It wasn't difficult, I just got myself in my own little bubble and just tried to steady. It didn't matter what I saw at the other end from Chris. I just tried to stick within my limitations."

The West Indies openers had already undone much of the good work New Zealand had put together over the first day, although he deficit remained 206 runs at stumps. But with the world's No. 4-ranked batsman, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, still to come, along with men like Marlon Samuels and Narsingh Deonarine, finding a way through to the West Indies tail looms as a tough challenge for New Zealand.

"It's always important to get a good start when you've got guys like that in your team," Powell said of Chanderpaul and the middle order. "They know they can come in and play under no pressure and express themselves a bit earlier in their innings as well. We've got a good start early, so if we can bat the whole of tomorrow and a piece of day four we should be in a good position to bat once and have New Zealand out twice."

The New Zealanders felt they were on top after the first day, when they closed at 232 for 4, but Sunil Narine's first five-wicket haul in a Test match meant they were dismissed for 351 soon after lunch on the second afternoon. Daniel Vettori said that although New Zealand's bowlers hadn't started as they would have hoped when Gayle and Powell walked to the crease, they believed the pressure was building by the end of the day.

"It wasn't the way we wanted to start but I thought by the end of the day we were actually bowling pretty well and starting to create some pressure and maybe if the session had gone a little bit longer we could have taken some wickets," Vettori said. "You can't give those freebies away to Gayle because he's like a Sehwag, he'll just really hurt you.

I think we were going at sixes and sevens pretty early on and it puts you on the back foot and you have to bowl to defensive fields and you probably don't bowl as well as you'd like. That was pretty disappointing after what was a reasonably good batting performance.

"We created some pressure at my end, I thought Kane [Williamson] bowled really well and then Neil Wagner at the end, being able to get it to reverse and starting to ask some questions. That's going to be a handy asset for us tomorrow. I think the goal is to keep West Indies around a par score, because that wicket is going to get tougher and tougher to play on."

Wagner finished his first day of Test bowling with 0 for 35 from eight overs and although he leaked eight boundaries, Vettori said that was not a reflection on how he had bowled.

"He can actually bowl reverse and he does it really well. He runs in hard and asks a lot of questions," Vettori said. "On these sorts of wickets he's going to be tough going and we've got to make sure we create that sort of pressure so we can attack.

"We need to make sure they come away about par and that's by getting early wickets tomorrow, particularly Gayle's wicket and probably Chanderpaul's as well, because he has the ability to bat for a long time. If we can do that, who knows, we can create some pressure and the chance to win the game."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Carl on July 27, 2012, 22:00 GMT

    A good day again for the West Indies, but they still need to bat well tomorrow morning, in order to really turn the screw and put the tourists under pressure. Scoring almost 300 today for the loss of six wickets is fine after yesterday's blistering start. Good to see some of the young guys coming good today too, Powell in particular deserving praise for his maiden test century. With a lead approaching 100, and four wickets remaining, one would hope that the West Indies can stretch the lead to something in the region of 175 if possible. That should take them up to lunchtime on the fourth day, so still plenty of time left to force a result. Keep the Kiwis in the field as long as possible tomorrow, wear them down after a hard day and a half already chasing leather.

  • o on July 27, 2012, 17:32 GMT

    Powell has batted beautifully amazing what the experience and presence of Gayle can have ! I expect him to go real big here great talent.

  • Clester on July 27, 2012, 16:54 GMT

    Congratulation to Keiron Powell on his maiden test century. I hope he is given enough chances to prove himself and we could see a lot more. Hope he goes on to a big score

  • anthony on July 27, 2012, 16:45 GMT

    A lot of people are using Gayles recent good form as evidence this whole impasse between he/the IPL stars and the WI cricket board should never have happened in that these guys should never have been dropped. But the fact is for years and years these guys like gayle,samuels,sarwan,bravo snr did well for themselves but didnt win matches if that makes sense. Now gibson and sammy have instilled new values of pride fight and team spirit. The IPL has helped these players make the money they deserve and gayle,bravo snr, samuels and others have gone into the team with something to prove and maturity to make up for lost time and it is the WINDIES cricket who are benefitting. Gayle is doing a great job providing the youngsters in teh batting line up with protection at the top, powel is benefiting and so will barath and edwards. Its a win win situation if gayle, samuels and bravo snr can continue performing to their abilities. With Sammy as captain i see good things the next few years for windie

  • Carson on July 27, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    Alot of people bash Gayle has an opener and refuse to accept him as one of WI best openers. Gayle's record is at least equal to if not better than the great Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge when u consider that Gayle has two triple centuries. Haynes played 116 matches scoring 7484 runs, 18 centuries at an average of 42.29. Greenidge played 108 matches scoring 7558 runs, 19 centuries at an average of 44.72. Gayle is playing is 92nd match scoring 6481 runs, 14 centuries at an average of 42.35 presently.

  • ken on July 27, 2012, 14:30 GMT

    Why is every pushing for a third seamier on this wicket and other such in the WI. Spin will take more than half the wickets in this match with only two specialist as opposed to six fast or medium fast bowlers. The WI Selectors and Management Lack the analytical ability to conduct a proper assessment of their conditions and select the best team for the match. In the warm-up game before this match Spin Bowling took 59% of the wickets while bowling more than double the amount of overs the pacemen did... throughout the Aussies tour spin dominated proceedings. Its a mystery to me why West Indians are still putting so much faith in pace on spin dominated wickets. Just check our regional records.

  • Muthuvel on July 27, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    Chris Gayle is for most i indians, the undisputed favorite Jamaican :) , glad to see him represent his nation and his west indian union in the most elite level of ciricket.

  • Earl on July 27, 2012, 12:10 GMT

    It is good to see that Powell did not throw his wicket away.Batting with no pressure is good for young batsmen.Pressure comes from not scoring.If Gayle is batting there will be scoring.All the talk about foot movement is exaggerated.Sehwag,Gayle and Smith have scored lots of runs without all of the correct foot work that coaches like to see.Why do people continue to say that Sarwan and other W.I players had the wrong attitude?WICB was the cause of the bad attitude among players.Sarwan is still a much better batsman than most of the ones playing or in the loop to play soon.Chanderpaul and Samuel are the only batsmen in the W.I that can play spin like Sarwan.W.I need to bat all of the 3rd day.No batting collapse needed.

  • Carl on July 27, 2012, 10:15 GMT


    Fidel Edwards should not be selected ahead of guys like Delorn Johnson or Jason Holder. Simply put, he has had many, many chances and failed to live up to the early career speeds and hostility that gave him his place in the side. Injuries haven't helped but one can't help but think that Fidel will go down as one who failed to produce, much in the same way as Reon King, albeit for different reasons. Delorn Johnson has the tools, and the young man deserves his chance now.

  • Dummy4 on July 27, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    It's funny I was just watching this game yesterday thinking Powell had a lot less pressure now, everyone will be watching Gayle and that allows Powell just to occupy the crease and accumulate. Vettori is right though, a couple of early wickets and if he can start spinning it with Wagner reversing it, it will be game on.......@Dashgar, I wouldn't say Powell is in great form, just that he has great powers of concentration. He has a good eye and will stick to the crease like glue but he has zero footwork. Having said that, if he can improve it he could be a good player..... @Mark Frayne-Johnson, why would they want Sarwan back? They have Bravo, Samuels and Chanderpaul and Deonarine has made a pretty good start. Why bring back ordinary players with the wrong attitude?...... @Lermy, you're right, both of them should have been out by now, the Gayle drop was particularly poor.

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