Updated:Gayle blows Sri Lanka away with double century

Chris Gayle

GALLE, (Reuters) – Former captain Chris Gayle hit an  explosive double century to propel West Indies to 362 for two on  the opening day of the first test against Sri Lanka today.
The tall left-hander smashed the ball all around the ground,  batting throughout the day to finish unbeaten on 219 off 247  balls.
Gayle’s chanceless effort comprised eight sixes and 26 fours  on a placid pitch. Shivnarine Chanderpaul was also 20 not out  when stumps were drawn.
“The last time I toured here I didn’t get many runs and  struggled,” an elated Gayle told reporters. “I was very happy to  get an opportunity like this.
“It was a good day for us and now we just have to try and  get about 500 runs.”
Gayle, who has a top test score of 317, reached his 13th  century by hitting Ajantha Mendis for two consecutive sixes in  an expensive over which cost the spinner 18 runs.
He celebrated with arms raised, flashed a broad grin, took  off his helmet and lay flat on the ground to milk the applause.
Gayle was less exuberant upon reaching his double century  with a single.

MILESTONE TARGET
“I’d love to get past 317, that would be a milestone,” he  said. “The wicket is good to bat on.
“If I can get past the first hour tomorrow anything is  possible.”
Gayle had a scare on 65 when Sri Lanka used the referral  system for an lbw decision off Mendis and television replays  showed he got an inside edge on to his pads.
The opener was particularly severe on Mendis and fellow  spinner Suraj Randiv, who went for a combined total of 234 runs.
Gayle and Adrian Barath put on 110 for the first wicket  after Darren Sammy won the toss on his debut as test captain.
Barath was dropped by Randiv on 35 after offering a  head-high return catch but the spinner eventually got his man  when he was caught at slip by Mahela Jayawardene on 50.
Darren Bravo then helped Gayle in a second-wicket  partnership of 196, a record for any wicket between the two  countries.
Bravo made his maiden test half-century and was then dropped  at short leg by Tharanga Paranavitana on 50.
He finally fell eight runs later when he top-edged a pull  off Mendis to square leg.

Scoreboard
West Indies first innings

C. Gayle not out                    219

A. Barath c M Jayawardene b Randiv   50

Darren Bravo c Samaraweera b Mendis  58

S Chanderpaul not out                20

Extras: (lb-5, nb-8, w-2)            15

Total: (two wickets; 90 overs)      362

Fall of wickets: 1-110 2-306.
To bat: A Russell, B Nash, Dwayne Bravo, C Baugh, S  Shillingford, D Sammy, K Roach.
Bowling: Thushara 13-2-53-0, Prasad 15-2-63-0 (7nb, 1w),  Mendis 29-1-90-1 (1nb), Randiv 32-1-144-1 (1w), Dilshan 1-0-7-0.
Sri Lanka: T Dilshan, T Paranavitana, K Sangakkara, M  Jayawardene, T Samaraweera, A Mathews, P Jayawardene, S Randiv,  A Mendis, T Thushara, D Prasad.

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