Lara, Gayle snatch win in rain spoilt ODI
Centuries from Chris Gayle and Brian Lara set West Indies on the way to a victory as the the first ODI against Zimbabwe was cut short.Updated: Nov 23, 2003 03:03 IST
Centuries from Chris Gayle and Brian Lara set West Indies on the way to their second best score in one-day internationals as they ripped through Zimbabwe here on Saturday.
The two West Indians turned the first of a series of five matches into a batting display of the highest quality to help their side to 347-6.
Gayle and Lara put on 176 for the second wicket and scored 113 and 153 not out respectively.
The Windies total was just 13 runs short of the 360-4 they scored against Sri Lanka in a World Cup match in Karachi in 1987.
In reply, Zimbabwe struggled at first, but Vusi Sibanda and Craig Wishart enabled the home side to come up with a respectable 173-3 at the early close.
West Indies were calculated to have won the match by 51 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis system.
Gayle's return to form was impressive - he struck two sixes and 19 fours, using 158 balls in amassing his huge score.
Lara praised Gayle's "faultless" century and said how much he had enjoyed watching him play so well.
Told that his 18th one-day international century was a West Indies record, Lara replied modestly: "I don't think too much about things like that. It's so nice to be playing in good form."
But he added that Zimbabwe "did well in never giving up the fight."
Lara took command from the first ball he faced, lashing the Zimbabwe attack, which wilted badly at times, and lashed the bowlers to all parts of the ground.
This latest three figure innings by the West Indies captain required just 105 balls. He hit three skyscraper sixes and 14 fours, taking his aggregate in one-day international matches to 8,351 runs, more than double his nearest colleague, Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Zimbabwe changed the tone of the lower part of the innings by capturing Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Marlon Samuels and Ricardo Powell for only 31 runs between them.
But it made no difference to the West Indies momentum, which took them only marginally short of seven runs an over and to their second highest total.
Zimbabwe, in reply, lost Trevor Gripper for 16 and Mark Vermeulen first ball, both victims of Gayle.
But Sibanda, with a maiden half-century and Wishart, the most reliable of the Zimbabwe batsmen, defied the West Indies with a spirited 110 runs partnership for the third wicket. They made 58 and 72 not out respectively, giving Zimbabwe hopes for the second encounter on Sunday, as captain Heath Streak noted.
"With that in mind I think we still have a good chance of squaring the series tomorrow. We must think and act more positively and with the will to win" he said.
First Published: Nov 22, 2003 13:27 IST