» Cricket » Openers Gayle, Powell put Windies in command

Openers Gayle, Powell put Windies in command

July 28, 2012 05:12 IST
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An outstanding opening stand of 254 from Chris Gayle (150) and Kieran Powell (134) helped the West Indies build a 91-run lead with four first innings wickets remaining after the third day of play in the first Test against New Zealand in Antigua on Friday.

The Caribbean side was 442 for six at the close and while New Zealand will take some comfort from a good effort in the evening session, West Indies are well in charge.

The home side resumed on 145-0 at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound and Gayle and Powell were still unbeaten by lunch, the former having brought up his 14th century with a six off Chris Martin.

Gayle's ton came in his first Test innings in 19 months and was the perfect reminder of just what West Indies have been missing during his absence, caused by a row with the regional cricket board.

The big-hitting left-hander departed shortly after lunch though when he holed out to Brandon McCullum off Kane Williamson.

Powell, who had not surprisingly played second fiddle for most of the partnership, took over after reaching his maiden Test century -- the first time since 1999 that both West Indies openers made a century in the same innings.

His landmark secured, Powell powered on but finally departed, giving Neil Wagner his first test wicket, as he edged to keeper Kruger van Wyk.

Marlon Samuels made 28 before he was bowled by Chris Martin and he was quickly followed by Shivnarine Chanderpaul, caught behind off Martin on his first ball.

The wickets offered the Kiwis some hope of limiting West Indies' lead but Narsingh Deonarine (54 not out) and Assad Fudadin (55) pushed the Caribbean side on.

There was some late joy for the tourists though with Fudadin finding McCullum off Williamson and then Denesh Ramdin played on a short delivery from Doug Bracewell.

Skipper Darren Sammy joined Deonarine and he will surely be looking for some quick runs early on Saturday on a pitch that still appears comfortable for batting on.

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