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July 27, 2012
On a day when Chris Gayle marked his comeback to Test cricket with his 14th century, Kieran Powell, one of several openers West Indies trialled during Gayle's 19-month absence, scored his first. Powell's 134 was a patient innings and it contributed to the fourth-highest opening stand for West Indies - 254.
"I started slowly and I just supported Chris and watched on as he played his natural game," Powell said after the third day, with West Indies leading by 91. "I told myself all I had to do is play it the way I know it and just try to build the lead of the team."
Powell had scored 97 off 241 balls before he pulled Neil Wagner to the square-leg boundary. He'd sustained his concentration for 74 overs to reach the landmark. "I felt I played really well and when I saw the ball going to the boundary I couldn't help but jump for joy," Powell said. "It felt really good and it's a moment to cherish.
"I knew I was hitting the ball very well. I have worked on my shot selection and I was happy with the way my bat was coming down and my ability to hit the ball down the ground. I hit three fours in the over I got out … I won't say I was carried away, I think I chose the wrong ball to hit at that stage."
The hundred was Powell's third first-class century in the last three months - following his 108 for West Indies against England Lions in early May and 139 for West Indies A against India A in June. Powell, who had made his debut in the third Test against India in Dominica in 2011, said his stint at the Sagicor High Performance Centre in Barbados had been a "massive boost" to his game.
"The time at the Sagicor HPC has totally changed my game," he said. "It has helped me with both the technical side and mental side of my game. It has helped to refine my game and overall I am now a calmer person. A lot of things I developed there I put into place, and I was able to assess the situation and go about the business of building an innings.
"There was a time I used to go in and look to play all the shots and see how many I could get. All that has changed now. I'm more settled and aware of my role."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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