Gayle leads Windies to six-wicket win

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The West Indies got their tri-nations campaign off to a winning start on Friday, beating Sri Lanka by six wickets at Sabina Park, thanks to a sterling century from opening batsman Chris Gayle.

The West Indies got their tri-nations campaign off to a winning start on Friday, beating Sri Lanka by six wickets at Sabina Park, thanks to a sterling century from opening batsman Chris Gayle.

Windies spinner Sunil Narine took four wickets to reduce Sri Lanka to 208 all out, and Gayle's 109 off 100 balls ensured an easy win for the hosts as they reached the target with 73 balls to spare.

The Windies won the toss and chose to bowl first, backing their pacemen to do the job under cloudy skies and keen to see Narine finish the job, which is what happened as Sri Lanka lost regular wickets.

They got off to a good start though, with Upul Tharanga, in the side for the injured Tillakaratne Dilshan, and Mahela Jayawardene putting on 62 for the first wicket. Tharanga was the first to fall though, caught behind off Dwayne Bravo in the 14th over.

Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara continued for 20 runs more, but the former skipper was out just after recording his half century. He was caught by Denesh Ramdin off Narine, and Sangakkara followed soon after, also to Narine.

Ravi Rampaul, who nearly did his ankle huge damage by rolling it on his follow through, did sterling work too, removing Lahiru Thirimanne and Nuwan Kulasekara in quick succession, while Dinesh Chandimal made 21 before being bagged by Marlon Samuels.

During all this, skipper Angelo Mathews had to watch from the other end as his partners were sent packing. He was the last batsman to reach double figures, making 55 not out as Rampaul and Narine wrapped up the tail in the 49th over.

The Windies chase was never in danger of failing, thanks for the most part to the century opening stand between Gayle and Johnson Charles. The youngster was very much an anchor for the big-hitting Jamaican, and faced 28 balls for his 29.

After Charles was dismissed by Herath with the score on 115, Darren Bravo joined the fight and he was equally helpful to Gayle. They pushed the score to 181, when Gayle was caught by Chandimal off Ajantha Mendis, having struck seven sixes.

Two further wickets fell in the short time between Gayle's departure and the win, with Bravo run out on 27 and Kieron Pollard given out LBW even though the ball struck high and outside the line.

It made no difference though, and Dwayne Bravo and Marlon Samuels guided the side home. They next face India, on Sunday, also at Sabina Park.

West Indies: Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Darren Sammy, Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach

Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeevan Mendis, Nuwan Kulasekara, Rangana Herath, Ajantha Mendis, Lasith Malinga

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