Saturday, February 7, 2009

ENGLAND VS WESTINDIES 1st TEST:Gayle, Sarwan tons push Windies to lead

 Captain Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan completed centuries to pilot West Indies to a first-innings lead over England on the third day Friday of the opening cricket test.Brendan Nash added an unbeaten 47 as the home team, resuming on 160-1, closed on 352-7, an advantage of 34.England was bowled out for 318.Gayle (104) and Sarwan (107) stretched their overnight partnership to 202 before they were separated late in the morning session at Sabina Park.Stuart Broad (3-61) and Andrew Flintoff (2-57) led the tourists, whose disciplined bowling limited West Indies to 192 runs in the day.Gayle's ninth test century was his first in front of his fellow Jamaicans and was spiced with five fours and five sixes. He faced 191 balls and occupied the middle for nearly six hours."It meant a lot to me, especially after the last game I played here I got a pair (against India in 2006)," Gayle said. "It's nice to give your home crowd something to cheer, and your family and friends, too."

The powerful left-hander went from 86 to 101 with successive sixes over long-on off spinner Monty Panesar, followed by a sweep for three to send a crowd of 7,000 into a frenzy."It's very pleasing to get a hundred here today, it was just unfortunate that I didn't carry on."Right-hander Sarwan struck 10 fours off 290 deliveries in posting his 12th test hundred. When he reached 91, Sarwan became the youngest West Indian to pass 5,000 runs at 28 years, 228 days.Broad broke the Gayle-Sarwan partnership and added the wicket of Xavier Marshall late in the morning session as West Indies lunched at 224-3.Sarwan fell midway through a laborious second session, under-edging Flintoff onto his stumps.When Broad accounted for the world's No. 1-ranked batsman, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, for 20 just before tea, England was on even terms with West Indies at 254-5.

Chanderpaul was given out lbw on the back foot, a decision that was upheld despite the challenge of the batsman.But Nash and wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin dulled England's spirit with an assured sixth-wicket stand of 66 either side of tea.Ramdin struck four fours in a fluent 35 off 77 balls before he edged a drive to slip off left-armer Panesar (1-121).Fast bowler Steve Harmison (1-49) claimed Jerome Taylor (8) just before the close as England remained in the game.Nash was undefeated at the close, three short of a third successive half-century. The Australian-born left-hander hit three fours off 146 balls in three and three-quarter hours.

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