The other side to Gayle
Through the course of the Antigua Test, the one batsman the Indians found difficult to dislodge early was Chris Gayle. Gayle dictated West Indies's intentions in the first innings, with his knock of 72 demoralising India's inexperienced bowling attack, which wore a hapless look each time the ball sped away along the ground or into orbit. He followed it up with 69 in the second innings, and though his scores look similar, there was a distinct difference in the character of both knocks, largely dictated by the state of the game.
Not known for grafting, his penchant for scoring boundaries stood out in both innings, comprising a large percentage. That's where the similarity ends. Gayle consumed more than twice the number of balls in the second innings, indicating an even higher percentage of balls not scored off. The table below shows the percentage of Gayle's scoring shots and dot balls in both innings.
A comparison reveals the difference in his knocks. With the pressure off after restricting the Indians to what seemed a modest total, it didn't require too much time to see off the new ball. He had 25 scoring shots in his 91-ball knock, but all along, the bowlers often struggled to beat the bat. The second innings however shows a disparity. By coincidence, the balls scored off were identical in number, but this time around, the fast bowlers, particularly Sreesanth, dominated. It was a sluggish start by Gayle, and the high percentage of dot balls only indicated a defensive mindset, as West Indies faced the tall order of batting an entire day to save the match. What is interesting is that in his 188-ball knock, the percentage of scoring shots was only a little over 13%, with 54 runs scored in boundaries alone.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is editorial assistant of Cricinfo