Bravo lifts Windies after Gayle blast

Bravo lifts Windies after Gayle blast

LONDON - Agence France-Presse
Bravo lifts Windies after Gayle blast

England’s James Anderson (R) celebrates with teammate Kevin Pietersen after dismissing West Indies’ Darren Bravo during the second cricket test match. REUTERS photo

Darren Bravo’s 77 rescued West Indies from a collapse in the second one-day international against England at The Oval yesterday after Chris Gayle marked his return with a blistering fifty. West Indies were 79 for four, when Bravo was joined by Kieron Pollard, who made 41, with both batsmen then on naught.

However, with England giving Bravo and Pollard a reprieve apiece, the pair shared a fifth-wicket stand of exactly 100 as the West Indies made 238 for nine.

Earlier, opener Gayle made 53 in just 51 balls with five sixes and three fours before he fell lbw to off-spinner Graeme Swann as England, who won Saturday’s opener at Southampton by 114 runs, looked to go 2-0 up in this three-match series.

Gayle, arguably the world’s best one-day opener, had not played an international match for 15 months following a dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board But having missed the Southampton clash with a shin injury it was not long before the 32-year-old left-hander -- in for the injured Darren Bravo -- resumed normal service after England captain Alastair Cook won the toss and fielded. The onslaught started when Gayle struck three fours off successive deliveries from fast bowler Steven Finn.

First change Tim Bresnan’s opening over was slammed for 18 as Gayle hit three sixes culminating with a huge blow onto the roof of the Bedser stand.

But Gayle was out when he pushed tentatively at Swann and New Zealand umpire Tony Hill, after long consideration, raised his finger in response to the spinner’s vehement lbw appeal.

Gayle immediately reviewed the decision and while replays indicated an inside edge, there was no clear evidence as to whether the ball had hit his bat, rather than the pad, first and Hill’s verdict was upheld.

Soon afterwards, 63 for one became 63 for two when Dwayne Smith was caught behind off Stuart Broad. And two wickets fell on 79, with opener Lendl Simmons -- who faced 50 balls for a mere 12 runs -- run out by Cook’s direct hit before Marlon Samuels mistimed a pull off Broad to Bresnan.

Bravo had made 18 when he chipped Swann only for Eoin Morgan, running in from long-off, to drop the difficult chance.

Worse followed when Swann lured Pollard, on 28, down the pitch only for wicket-keeper Craig Kieswetter to fumble the stumping. Bravo, having made his second best score in 124 one-day internationals behind his 112 not out against England at Ahmedabad in 2006, skyed a steepling catch to Ravi Bopara at extra-cover off seamer James Anderson. Bravo faced 82 balls with two sixes and eight fours. Anderson took an economical two for 38 in his 10 overs.

Before play started a minute’s silence was held in memory of Surrey batsman Tom Maynard who died aged 23 on Monday. England players wore black armbands as a mark of respect and flags above the pavilion were flown at half-mast.