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Gayle’s unbeaten fifty big relief for struggling Windies


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Kingston (Jamaica), June 10 (IANS/CMC) Talismanic opener Chris Gayle stroked an unbeaten half-century to hint at something special in his 100th Test, but it glossed over another dodgy West Indies batting effort on the third day of the first Test against New Zealand here Tuesday.

At lunch, the left-hander was not out on 59, an innings that steered the West Indies to 97 for three, in response to New Zealand's massive first innings total of 508 for seven declared at Sabina Park, reports CMC.

He was partnered by unflappable left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul, another veteran of over 100 Tests, who was unbeaten on 10.

Gayle has so far faced 115 balls and struck 10 fours in a knock that has been a mixture of caution and his typical aggression.

Resuming the day on 19 without loss, Gayle and fellow Kieran Powell seemed to be laying the foundation for a respectable response, when they put on 60 for the first wicket.

However, the introduction of debutant off-spinner Mark Craig (2-23) changed the tone of the morning session as he removed Powell for 28 and Kirk Edwards without scoring, in his fifth over of the day, before leg-spinner Ish Sodhi accounted for Darren Bravo in the next over, also without scoring.

Left-hander Powell had faced 76 balls and struck three fours when he played down the wrong line to one that pitched and straightened and was adjudged lbw.

Two deliveries later, Edwards poked at a good length delivery while anchored to his crease and edged to first slip for Ross Taylor to take a smart catch diving to his right.

Wobbling at 60 for two, West Indies suffered an even harsher blow just nine balls later when stroke-maker Bravo chipped a simple catch back to Sodhi.

As has become the custom, Chanderpaul then helped to steady the Windies as Gayle went about his business with his usual aplomb.

He collected consecutive boundaries off Craig in the next over, first sweeping through mid-wicket before hammering a short ball past point, to move into the 40s.

Gayle drove Sodhi to the straight boundary in the next over before reaching his 35th half-century with an uppish drive through cover off seamer Trent Boult.

Brief scores:

New Zealand 508 for seven decl. (Kane Williamson 113, James Neesham 107, Bradley-John J Watling 89, Tom Latham 83, Ross Taylor 55, Tim Southee 21 not out; Sulieman Benn 3/142, Shane Shillingford 3/145)

West Indies 97 for three (Chris Gayle batting 59, Kieran Powell 28; Mark Craig 2/23).

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