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Rediff.com  » Sports » Gayle earns the right to party

Gayle earns the right to party

February 08, 2009 13:39 IST

West Indies captain Chris Gayle planned to celebrate Saturday's first Test victory over England by joining his team's fans for a beer and this time no-one will say a word against him.

The last time England played West Indies at Sabina Park in Kingston five years ago, they bowled the Caribbean side out for 47 and won by ten wickets and Gayle was the focus of supporter outrage.

After a horrific West Indies batting collapse, Gayle and his team-mate Ramnaresh Sarwan wandered over to the 'mound', the venue's party stand where music blasts and rum flows.

At one of the low points in Caribbean cricket history, the image of the two most promising players, socialising when many thought they should be mourning, was considered symbolic.

On Saturday, after England were dismissed for 51 and beaten by an innings and 23 runs, Gayle, who made a century and captained the side positively throughout the first win over England in 17 Tests, is the toast of the town.

"I said before the game that hopefully it would be the other way round from last time and it actually turned out to be that way," grinned Gayle.

"I am going on the mound, last time when we lost here, I went over there and got in a lot of trouble for that.

"So this time I can go on the mound now. Its really good, I'm very happy," said the Jamaican.

Jerome Taylor sliced through the tourist's top order and Gayle, not one for grand statements, was fulsome in his praise of the pace bowler.

"It was the best fast bowling I have seen for a long while and he set the game up for us," said Gayle.

"This is what we have been talking about -- getting the batting and the bowling combined together and we saw that in this game.

"Credit must go to the guys -- the way Brendan Nash and Sulieman Benn got on with the bat, to get a lead of 74 runs, those sorts of leads are very important on those sorts of wickets.

"Benn was tremendous again with the ball, picking up eight wickets in the Test match. Then Jerome set the tone after lunch, picking up those wickets."

Gayle said the wicket of England batsman Kevin Pietersen after lunch was the moment the tide turned in his side's favour.

"He is the man who has been getting a lot of runs the last couple of series. Picking up that wicket after lunch was vital.

"We decided we weren't going to relax. The ball was doing a bit and Taylor was putting the balls in the right areas and getting the response.

"It was really brilliant to come out on top."

Although there have been few moments as dramatically positive for West Indies during their decade of decline, there have been false dawns before and Gayle was careful to emphasise his team would not ease off ahead of Friday's second Test in Antigua.

"Not going to be lackadaisical for sure and not going to give ourselves any added pressure," he said.

"The expectations from everyone is going to be really high, after this, to go out and do even better. We just have to go and play some good, simple, basic cricket as we did here."

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