With West Indian great Chris Gayle featuring in his 100th Test, against New Zealand, at Sabina Park, we look back at five glorious knocks by the left-hander over the years. Here’s a flashback.
333 vs Sri Lanka at Galle, 1st Test, November 2010: Without doubt Gayle’s most famous knock. He had scored a triple hundred before, but a second one is always special, because a player doesn’t even dream of getting a second triple hundred. By achieving the same, Gayle joined a select list of greats like Bradman, Lara and Sehwag. West Indies batted first in the game and, opening the innings, Gayle went on to score a mammoth 333 runs in 437 balls with the help of 34 fours and 9 sixes. The knock was faced past in Test standards, but it cannot be ignored that Gayle was out in the middle for 653 minutes. That needs a lot of dedication and concentration, and Gayle definitely showed that.
317 vs South Africa at Antigua, 4th Test, May 2005: This was the knock that proved to the world – Gayle can play the big testing knocks. He had got a double hundred against New Zealand earlier in his career, but considering his explosive batting style, not many would have given him a chance of crossing the triple hundred mark. Chris did so with Gay(le) abandon against the Proteas. What makes the knock extra special is that it came in adverse circumstances. South Africa had piled in 588 for 6 with four centurions. West Indies replied with 747! Gayle’s 317 came off 483 balls with 37 fours and three sixes. He spent 630 minutes out in the middle.
116 vs South Africa at Cape Town, January 2004: This was not a big knock, but the manner in which he blasted the ball to all parts of the park and, given the circumstances, the innings had a massive impact on the state of the match. The Proteas had batted first and posted 532. Under pressure, Gayle came in and smashed 116 at almost a run a ball to shell shock the South African bowlers. His innings featured 20 fours and 1 six before he was trapped lbw by Shaun Pollock. Buoyed by Gayle’s belligerence, West Indies went on to draw the Test.
165 not out vs Australia at Adelaide, December 2009: West Indies have rarely competed with the Aussies over the last decade, but they did in this Test, and Gayle had a big role to play. In the second innings of the Test, Gayle compiled an unbeaten 165 in 285 balls with 16 fours and 1 six. Thanks to Gayle, West Indies set Australia a tough target of 330, who managed to hold on to a draw.
197 vs New Zealand at Napier, December 2008: Again, a brilliant second innings performance by Gayle. West Indies had to set a target in this Test, and Gayle played a wonderfully restrained hand – 197 from 396 balls, with 20 fours and 7 sixes, almost single-handedly taking West Indies to a competitive score. New Zealand battled hard to draw the Test, and series.
--By A Cricket Analyst