Gayle ton in vain as England seal historic run chase


Despite courageous batting, which saw veteran run-getter Chris Gayle registering 135 runs off 129 balls, the Windies went down in a six-wicket defeat to England in the opening one-day global (ODI) of the five-match series at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, yesterday.

The West Indies, led by Chris Gayle, smashed a world record 23 sixes during their innings, with Gayle clearing the ropes 12 times by himself, but remarkably the home side's total of 360 was easily overhauled. It was a six fest as he hit nine sixes and three fours when on 100.

They were propelled by opener Jason Roy who blasted a chancy 123 off 85 balls while Joe Root added 102 off 97 deliveries, as England bettered their previous best run chase of 350 against New Zealand at Nottingham four years ago.

While Roy was at his brutal best, notching up his hundred off 65 balls, Root was the accumulator. Needing one run off nine balls, Jos Buttler hit a four and England registered the third-highest successful chase in ODI history.

"We went about the chase well, with a short side (boundary) and a howling wind", said Morgan, who felt the conditions and placid nature of the pitch had made the chase slightly easier than the target score.

Root, the Test captain who finally came good with a hundred in the last innings of the three-match series in St Lucia just over a week earlier, also got to three figures against the University of the West Indies Vice-Chancellor´s XI last Sunday and tapped into that rich vein of form once more.

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Gayle started slowly and scored just 26 from his 54 deliveries but then accelerated, muscling 12 sixes in total, many of them very large, as he hit his third ODI ton against England - the left-hander was dropped again on 124, by Chris Woakes, before chopping Ben Stokes onto his stumps.

Chris Gayle raises his bat aloft after scoring a century against England at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown.

Hope was the first to his half-century, reaching the mark off 48 balls in the 25th over as West Indies reached 132 for one at the half-way stage.

Ben Stokes and Adil Rashid claimed three wickets a piece for 37 and 74 runs, respectively, for the Three Lions.

"You can´t give quality players so many opportunities and expect to be competing at the end".