Cricinfo: West Indies v India 2006
CricinfoWest Indies v India v 2006

3rd Test: Day 1 - West Indies v India at St Kitts, 22-26 June 2006 [ Scorecard ]
The lull before the Gayle

West Indies have been lucky to enter the third Test with the series level and Brian Lara would have wanted a solid start after he chose to bat on winning his first toss of the series. Given India.s ominous batting form, it was imperative that West Indies score big in the first innings to ensure that they didn.t spend the rest of the match chasing India. And with Daren Ganga in indifferent form, the responsibility fell on Chris Gayle to provide the momentum.

Gayle was circumspect at the start. He played and missed a bit, left a lot of balls outside off stump, and because the bowlers were extracting some swing, he played his shots very late. Only 11 runs came off the first seven overs, which, by Gayle.s standards, is snail.s pace.

The first signs of aggression came against Sreesanth in the eight over. Gayle stood his ground and biffed a four past mid-on and, a ball later, launched one over the long-on fence. Gayle then went into another lull against the fast bowlers save a savage cut over point, also off Sreesanth. Once the spinners came on, the sluice gates opened. Gayle targeted Harbhajan Singh, who got almost no turn from the first-day pitch. With brute force, Gayle hammered blow after blow to, and over, the long-on and long-off fence. So savage was this attack that Harbhajan Singh conceded 42 runs off his first six overs.

Having gained momentum, Gayle was much more positive when Munaf Patel was reintroduced into the attack. He chanced his arm and cashed in with fours through slips and also creamed meaty drives through the cover region. Gayle.s positive attitude took away the pressure from Ganga, who buckled down and ground out his runs. West Indies had reached 143 before an error in judgement sent Gayle.s off stump cart-wheeling but, by then, he had given his team a perfect start to secure a strong advantage.

3rd Test: [ Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Performer of the match ]

Archive: [ ODI 1 | ODI 2 | ODI 3 | ODI 4 | ODI 5 | Test 1 | Test 2 | Test 3 ]

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