Bravo century upstages Gayle return

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Chris Gayle orchestrated a typically cavalier innings at the top of the knock, but it was Darren Bravo's century that stole the show in the West Indies' hefty 228-run victory over the Middlesex Panthers in Wednesday's one-day tour fixture at Lord's.

Chris Gayle orchestrated a typically cavalier innings at the top of the knock, but it was Darren Bravo's century that stole the show in the West Indies' hefty 228-run victory over the Middlesex Panthers in Wednesday's one-day tour fixture at Lord's.

Gayle last represented his country at last year's World Cup before a fallout with the West Indies Cricket Board saw him sidelined since May 2011. He had spent the past 12 months playing domestic Twenty20 cricket in Zimbabwe, India, Australia and Bangladesh.

However, an agreement between the former captain and WICB earlier this month saw Gayle recalled to the Windies' limited-overs setup and on Wednesday reminded the international stage what it had been missing.

Picking up on the fine form that saw him top the run-scoring charts in the Indian Premier League, the hard-hitting left-hander struck four boundaries and a couple of sixes en route to a 30-ball 34.

Bravo, though, took the bulk of the plaudits. The left-hander, disappointing in the recent Test series against England, struck back to fetch the third century – and highest score – of his List A career.

His 112 not out, complemented by a swashbuckling cameo of 96 off 81 deliveries from Dwayne Smith, rocketed the tourists to a formidable final total of 335 for four.

Dwayne Bravo, meanwhile, weighed in with an unbeaten 40 from 21 and together the brothers cranked five sixes from the last nine balls of the innings.

The hosts' reply was a feeble affair, and ended at 107 all out in just 31 overs.

Unable to carry their solid 2012 Clydesdale Bank 40 record, which has them second only to the Netherlands in the Group A standings, Middlesex failed against the international attack.

Josh Davey's 24 not out down the order was as good as it got after the specialist batsmen floundered at the hands of seamers Ravi Rampaul and Andre Russell, who shared four wickets with the new ball.

Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy and Smith put together a sound three-fold holding role, while Sunil Narine afforded a taste of what is to come in the ODIs. The spinner was at his entrapping best, with Ireland international Tim Murtagh particularly flummoxed by the slow bowler's web of variation when he was caught by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.

Gayle, fittingly, sealed the deal by snaring the final two wickets with his handy part-time spin in his only over of the day. The returning talisman suggested that it is not just his ability with the bat that is to be looked forward to in the one-dayers, the first of which gets underway at the Rose Bowl in Southampton on Saturday, by rattling through tail-enders Tom Smith and Anthony Ireland.

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