Chris Gayle West Indies
Chris Gayle's Jamaica Tallawahs will take on Antigua Hawkbils in the Caribbean Premier LeagueReuters

Chris Gayle is not the same behemoth in the one-day arena that he is in T20s, especially the IPL.

However, Gaylestorm was in full swing amid the beautiful environs of Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica, with the powerful left-hander smashing a wonderful hundred to ease the West Indies to the most comfortable of wins against Sri Lanka in the opening match of the tri-series.

The ICC Champions Trophy was a forgettable one for Gayle, who managed only a highest score of 39. So much is expected of the supreme opener, and rightly so; and when he delivers, there is quite nothing like it.

Asked to chase a sub-par 209, after Sri Lanka were bamboozled by the spin of Sunil Narine and with it bowled out for 208, the West Indies, with Gayle (109, 100b, 9x4, 7x6) leading from the front, made short work of the target, finishing on 209 for four with 12.1 overs to spare.

Gayle was a joy to watch purely because of the way he went about chasing down the target, taking his time and blocking the balls he felt was not in the zone, before nonchalantly launching the ball into orbit in the blink of an eye, leaving Angelo Mathews and co. wondering just what to do to stop the fireworks.

All but 31 runs of Gayle's impeccable and worry-free 109 came via boundaries. Johnson Charles, Gayle's opening partner, realized runs weren't the order of the day from the other end, managing a mere 29 runs from 58 deliveries, but also ensuring the West Indies posted a big opening partnership of 115.

Charles went to Rangana Herath, before Gayle allied for 66 runs with Darren Bravo (27, 30b, 4x4), the man who struggled so much in England, to take the West Indies to the brink of victory.

Gayle finally succumbed in the 31st over, top edging a slog sweep attempt off Ajantha Mendis, with the West Indies losing a couple more quick wickets - that of Darren Bravo and Kieron Pollard.

West Indies, on 193 for four at that point, needed just 16 more runs for a victory, which skipper Dwayne Bravo and Marlon Samuels easily managed.

Earlier, it all went pear-shaped for Sri Lanka after a bright start, with the idea of sending Mahela Jayawardene to open the innings seeming like a masterstroke as the elegant right-hander began the innings in aggressive fashion.

Sri Lanka put on 62 runs for the first wicket, with Jayawardene looking quite comfortable at the crease, while Upul Tharanga, making a comeback into the side and preferred over Kusal Perera, struggling for timing.

Tharanga (25, 43b, 3x4), expectedly went in the 14th over, feathering one off Dwayne Bravo to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.

That brought Sri Lanka's deadly duo - Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara - together, but there was to be no great alliance as the former fell four overs later for 52 (52b, 7x4) and with it becoming Narine's first scalp of the innings in his first over.

Narine (four for 40) would also account for Sangakkara, with the left-hander pushing a drive straight to Pollard at extra cover.

Frome there, Sri Lanka's inexperience came to the fore, as the visitors went from 104 for three in 22 overs to 208 all out in 48.3 overs, with Ravi Rampaul (three for 38) also getting in on the act.

Skipper Angelo Mathews (55 n.o., 77b, 5x4), dropped early on by Gayle, did his best to salvage something of a defendable total for Sri Lanka, but with no partners for company, a score over 250 was never really on. And with Gayle in the mood that he was in on Friday, even that score would not have really troubled the West Indies too much.

West Indies now take on India in the second match of the series, and the ICC Champions Trophy winners will definitely be expected to pose a bigger threat to the hosts come Sunday.

Quick Links