West Indies v New Zealand, 1st Test, Antigua, 3rd day July 27, 2012

Gayle, Powell tons give WI edge


West Indies 442 for 6 (Gayle 150, Powell 134, Fudadin 55, Deonarine 54*) lead New Zealand 351 by 91 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Centuries by Chris Gayle and Kieran Powell, who put on 254 for the first wicket, put West Indies on the path to securing a sizeable first-innings lead, but a few late strikes after tea gave New Zealand an opening. Gayle and Powell extended the hosts' dominance by batting out the morning session, but the other top-order batsmen couldn't quite carry on after making starts. Assad Fudadin and Narsingh Deonarine made patient half-centuries to ensure West Indies didn't capitulate after the start provided by the openers and, by stumps, their team still held the upper hand, leading by 91.

New Zealand created opportunities with the swing on offer with the new ball, but once the batsmen had seen off that period, the visitors were left waiting for mistakes. New Zealand were hurt by the fact that their best and most experienced bowler, Daniel Vettori, couldn't pick up a wicket. Kane Williamson bowled 20 overs, the most he has ever bowled in a Test, and picked up two.

Gayle carried on from where he left off, piloting the innings. Given his stupendous limited-overs form, a Test century was there for the taking against a bowling attack low on confidence and form. Gayle started the day with a flat six over long-off off Vettori to take him to the nineties. Keen to reach his landmark in style he pulled a short delivery by Chris Martin and just about cleared the rope to get from 97 to 103. Gayle punched the air and acknowledged his 14th Test century, one that will be talked about for long, given it came after an exile of one-and-a-half years.

New Zealand relied on Neil Wagner's reverse swing to possibly sneak in a wicket or two with the old ball. With the ball swinging in sharply towards the pads, a silly mid-on and short midwicket was placed for the checked drive. It didn't change New Zealand's luck as Powell managed to chip it over midwicket and keep out the fuller deliveries. One one occasion, Gayle miscued an on-drive and yet managed to beat mid-on comfortably. It was that sort of morning for New Zealand.

The patient Powell couldn't resist a slash over gully that brought up the double-century opening stand, the ninth in West Indies history. It was also the highest partnership for any wicket by West Indies since December 2010, when Gayle last played a Test. It only underlined Gayle's impact and how much his team missed him.

Gayle offered his second chance of the innings when the ball turned, kissed the glove and lobbed to first slip where Ross Taylor fluffed a straightforward take. New Zealand didn't get too many chances coming their way, and they will wonder what could have been had they halted Gayle on 36 yesterday.

Gayle added only four to his score after lunch when he tried to clear Williamson over long-off but was caught well in front of the rope. Powell got to his maiden Test century with a flourish just as Gayle had done earlier, hittiing a boundary. There were two fielders placed in the deep on the on side and he managed to place it between them with a strong pull off Wagner. It was the first time in 13 years that both West Indies openers had hit centuries in an innings, the last pair being Sherwin Campbell and Adrian Griffith in Hamilton in 1999.

The new ball, taken after 83 overs with West Indies at 269 for 1, posed questions straightaway as Doug Bracewell teased the left-handers with his inswing. There were a couple of marginal lbw shouts against Powell and Fudadin, but the ball looked to be missing the leg stump. The left-handed pair looked more comfortable with the ball swinging away as they fetched boundaries through the off side.

Powell looked good to carry on to a big hundred when he took on Wagner for three consecutive fours through the off side, including a scoop over mid-off. However, he fell off the fourth, chasing a delivery well wide of the off stump and feathering an edge to the keeper to give a pumped-up Wagner his first Test wicket. Marlon Samuels survived a testing first delivery, deflected down the leg side, and a run-out. Samuels failed to carry on after making a start, inside-edging Martin to his leg stump. Martin struck again in the first ball of his next over when he had Shivnarine Chanderpaul gloving a snorter to Kruger van Wyk. It was his sixth first-ball duck and the third time he failed to score against New Zealand.

The double-strike suddenly put West Indies on the back foot, but Deonarine and Fudadin did well to weather the storm. Fudadin played shots on both sides of the wicket and picked up seven boundaries, but, like Gayle, perished while going for the big hit. Denesh Ramdin chopped a short delivery onto his stumps shortly before close, joining the list of those who threw their wickets away.

Deonarine played a couple of adventurous strokes, including a straight six off Wagner as he neared his fifty. As a statement of intent, he swung the last ball of the day for a boundary. New Zealand did well to script a comeback in the final session, but another tough day awaits.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 28, 2012, 17:39 GMT

    And to Dinesh Ramdin: TALK now nah!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dummy4 on July 28, 2012, 16:28 GMT

    Why do people still question Darren Sammy's place on the side. What more does he have to prove he has been one of the more consistent players on the side. I will agree that his batting is not typical to the form of test match neither is Gayle's but they add valuable runs to the side. They don't have to take 5 hours to make a 50. Since Sammy became captain you cannot deny that there seem to be a lift in the West Indies game. This was evident in the Australia series and now New Zealand and he is still being criticized. Give him a chance just like the others who went before him.

  • Bhanoo on July 28, 2012, 13:56 GMT

    Isn't Dwayne Bravo the best all-rounder in the WI? Clearly a better batsman and fielder that Sammy and certainly not a worse bowler. Sammy looks like a very nice guy but shouldn't get a place just because of that.

    Sarwan in the middle with Samuels and Darren Bravo is critical esp with Shiv nearing the end of his career. Kirk Edward and Deonarine as alternates and the middle would be formidable even though Deonarine has to come good with a few big scores to stay in the conversation. Fudadin and anyone else needs to have more than 1 good season unless they are really special to get a test pick.

    Roach and Narine are world class, Ramphal has been consistent in the past 2 years and with Dwayne Bravo is a decent bowling attack but we need another like Roach. Fidel has had his chances and Tino has not put together a string of performances to warrant a place. Benn is still good though as another spinner and better than Bishoo I think.

  • Aditya on July 28, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    cant remember when was the last time Windies scored 500 in an innings (without Gayle) - dynamic addition! Too bad, Ten Cricket thinks India/SL ODI is more important than the Windies/NZ test - just cant watch this match at the moment. Trust me when I say this, India loves it when Windies win - big, huge, large, humongous fan base here, not just because of the IPL (people like my dad watch just Test Cricket, even to this day) and Windies is their all time favorite!!!

  • Dummy4 on July 28, 2012, 11:51 GMT

    We cannot expect to see crowd when there is no population. Why WI stop playing matched in Guyana? You want crowd, schedule some matches in Guyana. The Guyana sports minister is not vinrant enough to see this happen. The Trinidad and Jamaican government fight for Gayle but the Guyana government did nothing for Sarwan. The cricket boards frustrate him and set him a side which caused him to seek cricket opportunities on his own. Will we ever see him back in the WI team.. It will be a wild guess.

  • Dummy4 on July 28, 2012, 11:41 GMT

    West Indies is now looking like the team of the past. Gayle was indeed one of the mising link. He brought back confidence to the other young opener, let alone his ability. Barath style like young Bravo suits the ODI.s. Hope this team wins the test series for WI. and bring back some pride for the fans. The only person missing and the next thing to do is to bring back Sarwan to Captain and place Sammy as captain for the ODI's. Truly, we all know it. Hats off to the selectors, you show guts.

  • Carl on July 28, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    People, stop talking about Sarwan. He is happily enjoying his cricket in England, and that is what he wants to do right now. After the county season has finished over there, maybe he will decide that he wants to return to the Windies colours. If so, then we can talk about it. In the meantime, lets enjoy seeing Powell, Gayle, Deonarine and Fudadin get runs...and hopefully Sammy too. An hour of his blows in the moring and this game could be well beyond the tourists.

  • Dummy4 on July 28, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    Heart warming performance from the WI. However they must not lose the initiative. A lead of 200+ must be today's goal. This match still has 180 ovs remaining. This track on the 5th day will be a demon. Already there r ominous signs. WI must not fall into this trap. The idea is not to have to chase too many for victory. Another 100 runs by lunch is not beyond the remaining WI batters. But this is cricket, let's c how it goes.

  • joel on July 28, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    Fudadin looked out of sorts, but that is irrelevant since the number three spot is waiting for Darren Bravo to return. Now, if only they could get Sarwan back in the middle order, that would be a solid batting top six.

  • Hildreth on July 28, 2012, 8:37 GMT

    CONGRATULATIONS to GAYLE and POWELL for their BRILLIANT OPENING PARTNERSHIP leading to BIG HUNDREDS for both men. You guys really made West-Indians PROUD today and had many fans reminiscing re one of the GREATEST OPENING PAIRS of GRENIDGE & HAYNES. The individual achievements must have been very EMOTIONAL for both men Gayle in his first test in almost 2 yrs and Powell scoring his 1st test century. The FUTURE looks bright for both men so Windies fans will look foward to many more runs flowing from the bats of these exciting batsmen. Looking at the situation of the match I felt WI should have batted more POSITIVELY in the final session knowing that the Kiwis were very tired after being in the field for almost 5 sessions. However with a lead of 91 and 4 wkts in hand Windies still have a chance to press home their ADVANTAGE by scoring much faster tomorrow and building that lead to 200 to 250 runs. If they adopt a negative approach NZ can get back in this match. Be POSITIVE WINDIES !!

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