West Indies v Australia, 3rd ODI, Grenada June 29, 2008

Gayle slams middle-order 'disaster'

Cricinfo staff

Chris Gayle's 53 was the first half-century for West Indies in a series when their batsmen have been disappointing © Getty Images

Chris Gayle, the West Indies captain, says the middle-order batsmen need to seriously lift their game after a batting display he described as "a disaster". West Indies failed to bat out their overs having been sent in and their total of 223 was never likely to be enough to beat a well-oiled Australia on a good batting pitch.

It was even more disappointing after Gayle and Xavier Marshall provided a solid platform, compiling an 86-run opening stand that started with a cautious mindset before both men launched some powerful strikes. West Indies have struggled with the bat in all three ODIs so far and Gayle's 53 was their first half-century of the series.

Marshall, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Andre Fletcher all made starts only to throw away their wickets with rash shots and it left the captain in a sour mood. "I thought myself and Xavier really started well this morning," Gayle said after the game. "Basically the wicket was doing a bit earlier but the middle order was a disaster for us again. They set it up really well and didn't actually carry on."

Although Gayle was one of the offenders in the first two matches he could not be blamed for his dismissal on this occasion, run out at the non-striker's end after Marshall's straight drive clipped the fingers of the bowler Mitchell Johnson. His entertaining innings was the only bright point on a day when his batsmen made bad choices and the bowlers and fielders lacked spark, handing Australia the series with two matches still to play.

"We've done a lot of talks but that was never really going to help us at this particular time," Gayle said. "We need more action to be taken, so it's up to us as individuals to actually work out our game. We can't really continue like this, it doesn't look good. Our outfield cricket doesn't look good as well, so we really need to pull our socks up."

Gayle said West Indies still had a lot of pride to play for in the remaining games, which take place in St Kitts next Friday and Sunday. Several players who failed to impress in the first three outings will be waiting nervously to see if they are in the squad for the final two matches, which should be announced in the next couple of days.