Chris Gayle‘s 15th Test century consolidated the West Indies’ dominant position at lunch on the second day of the second and final test against Zimbabwe at Windsor Park on Thursday.
Resuming at 61 overnight with the home side at 114 for two in reply to the visitors’ first innings total of 175, the opener carried on to 101 before becoming the first Test wicket for off-spinner Prosper Utseya 20 minutes before the interval via an outstanding catch on the long-off boundary by Kyle Jarvis.
The big left-hander dominated a 67-run fourth-wicket partnership with Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who was resuming in the afternoon session on 40 alongside wicketkeeper-batsman Denesh Ramdin (four not out) with the hosts at 201 for four.
Zimbabwe enjoyed immediate success at the start of the day when seamer Tendai Chatara bowled Marlon Samuels with the very first ball of the morning.
That proved to be little more than a momentary stutter for the home side however as Gayle eventually moved into stride while the redoubtable Chanderpaul supported the destructive batsman in his usual understated style.
Approaching the century landmark, Gayle took a particular liking to Utseya, hoisting him for consecutive sixes and then bringing up the hundred in 140 balls with 12 fours and four sixes.
Playing his second Test match, almost nine years after his first, the off-spinner had the last laugh when Jarvis took the excellent catch with Gayle going for another six.
Zimbabwe may yet rue an opportunity to remove Chanderpaul, then on 24, when Hamilton Masakadza was slow to react to a catch at leg-slip off long-suffering leg-spinner Graeme Cremer, who was still looking for his first wicket of the series at that point.
Brief Scores:Zimbabwe175 (Brendan Taylor 33; Shane Shillingford 5 for 59) trailWest Indies201 for 4 (Chris Gayle 101, Shivnarine Chanderpaul 40*; Kyle Jarvis 2 for 49) by 26 runs.