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90% Gayle ready to step up

The captain Chris Gayle is looking forward to stepping back into the West Indies team with a strong contribution following the competitive performances in the opening two Tests. Gayle, who has overcome a groin injury, will be in charge for the final match of the three-game series, which starts in Barbados on Thursday.

"I'm not 100% fit, but 90%," Gayle said. "But I can cope. I wasn't 90% fit in Antigua. The physio said I was 70%, and basically we didn't want to risk it. So we gave it more time, and it's feeling a bit better now, so I'm definite.

"The most difficult thing is running between the wickets. It's a bit difficult, but it is comfortable batting-wise. I just have to monitor it properly."

West Indies shocked Australia at times during the first encounter and held on for a draw last week in Antigua, even though the result meant they could not regain the Frank Worrell Trophy. "You have to give credit to the team and you have to give credit to Ramnaresh Sarwan, who led the team," Gayle said. "They played extremely well, the outfield cricket was very good and we saw Shivnarine Chanderpaul among the runs again."

Gayle has not played since the series against Sri Lanka and is determined to find some runs after a difficult period. "I look back and it's been a while that I haven't scored a century," he said. "I've been in and out of cricket. I'm just trying to cope with it, not pressure myself too much."

The last time Gayle reached three figures in a Test was when he posted 317 against South Africa in 2005. Since then he has scored 1400 runs at 35.00.

Apart from a decent innings for himself, Gayle would like the side's younger players to support Sarwan and Chanderpaul. "Chanderpaul has been leading from the front in the batting department and hopefully I can be among the runs just coming back," Gayle said. "You have Dwayne Bravo and Denesh Ramdin, and these guys get the chance to establish themselves. It's an opportunity for them to step it up and try and get a couple of hundreds as well."

Joel Garner has described the fast bowlers as "lazy", but Gayle said they had done a "terrific job" so far. "Everybody has been playing their part," he said, "it's just that our batting has let us down a bit."