Windies declare at 580/9 on Day 2

Published: Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 17:39 [IST]
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Windies declare at 580/9 on Day 2

After the first day of the first test against Sri Lanka, West Indian opener Chris Gayle stated that he would "love to get to 317" which is his present career best. He certainly seemed on course for that target on the morning of the second day, except after facing the first ball his heart must have been in his mouth. Sri Lankan captain Kumara Sangakarra called for the decision review when the umpire turned down a Ajantha Mendis appeal for lbw, but there was enough doubt to let Chris Gayle off and Sri Lanka had lost their last review.

Although focused on the task at hand, Gayle wasn't as aggressive as he had been on the previous day and preferred to just rotate the strike with Shivnarine Chaderpaul. But in the 105th over, Chanders was attempting a cut shot off Randiv when he edged the ball to first slip where Mahela Jayawardene took a fine catch to dismiss him. The new man at the crease was Brendan Nash who faced ten balls before he got off the mark.

In the 110th over, Gayle finally cut loose, sending Thilan Thushara for two fours, one a straight drive and the other, to the third man boundary. He then took a single to reach his 250. He had hit 29 fours and 8 sixes up to that point and was still looking deadly dangerous. In the meantime, the West Indies had also moved past the 400-run mark and appeared to have the reserves to carry on for a long time still.

The landmarks just kept coming from the Windies. In the 127th over, Nash punched Randiv for a boundary through extra cover to bring up his side's 450. There was simply no respite in sight for the Sri Lankan bowlers, who were toiling endlessly. The batting pair then took the Windies to over 500 when in the 141st over, Nash pulled Prasad for a contemptuous four at the midwicket boundary.

In the 143rd over, Nash ran a single to bring up a well-made fifty, but an even bigger landmark was looming. In the very next over, Gayle crashed a cover drive for four to notch up a triple century. He became just the fourth batsmen in history to accomplish hitting two triple centuries. But to add to Sri Lanka's woes, he carted Randiv for another six over long off, taking the Windies score to 527/3 in 146 overs to bring in tea.

After the break, Gayle went past his career best of 317. It was an innings studded with 32 boundaries and 9 sixes and he was still going strong. He had all but destroyed the bowling attack from the Lankans. But the hosts were in for a breather when Mendis got Nash lbw for 64 with the score at 559/4. In the 157th over, Mendis struck again to remove Dwyane Bravo for 5.

In a fortuitous 159th over, Gayle was eventually out. Ajantha Mendis got him bowled for 333. With the very next ball, Mendis got rid of the captain Sammy in similar fashion and was on a hat trick. Mendis had got five wickets and was on fire. A mini-collapse was in motion after the Windies had dominated play for most of the day.

But Andre Russell survived the hat trick ball, and began to build a partnership with the other new man Carlton Baugh. But Mendis picked up his sixth scalp of the innings when he hit Russell's stumps. The score was now 579/8 with Shane Shillingford the new man in the middle. When Shillingford got out to Randiv one run later, the West Indies declared on 580/9.

The Sri Lankans would have been relieved for a chance to bat after two terribly daunting days. But the Windies got an early breakthrough when Andre Russell sent back Tillakaratne Dilshan for a duck in the second over itself. Then the Lankan captain Kumara Sangakarra joined the other opener Tharanga Paranavitana and began batting at a brisk rate. He was particularly severe on Kemar Roach, hitting him for three fours in the 7th over.

The off-spinner Shillingford was introduced in the next over and captain Darren Sammy brought himself on in the 9th over to try and get another wicket before the close of play for the day. But it was not to be, as the batting pair took Sri Lanka to 54/1 at stumps on Day 2. The Lankans still have a lot of work ahead of them as they trail by a mammoth 526 runs with 9 wickets intact.

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