Experienced opener Chris Gayle slammed 109 off 100 balls Friday as West Indies romped to a six-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the opening one-day cricket international in the tri-nation Celkon Mobile Cup at Sabina Park.
The 33-year-old Gayle blasted nine fours and seven sixes in posting his 21st one-day century as the hosts successfully chased down Sri Lanka’s modest total of 208 all out off 48.3 overs.
West Indies finished on 209-4 off 37.5 overs,ensuring they earned a bonus point in the tri-nation event that also includes India.
Gayle and Johnson Charles laid the platform for victory with an opening stand of 115 in 20.2 overs. Charles chipped in with 29.
Earlier,ace spinner Sunil Narine grabbed 4-40 and fast bowler Ravi Rampaul took 3-38 to restrict the visitors to a below-par total on a true surface.
Captain Angelo Mathews top-scored with an unbeaten 55 for the visitors,while veteran Mahela Jayawardene chipped in with 52.
West Indies,which won the toss,fought back well after an opening stand of 62 in 13 overs between Jayawardene and left-hander Upul Tharanga.
Captain Dwayne Bravo made the initial breakthrough by claiming Tharanga for 25 to an edge through to wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin.
West Indies stifled the Sri Lankans after that through Narine,the miserly Darren Sammy (10-0-34-0) and Rampaul.
The long-serving pair of Jayawardene and Sangakkara were both prized out by Narine,the world’s No. 1-ranked bowler.
Jayawardene struck seven fours in a run-a-ball 52 before he tried to tuck to leg and spooned a catch off bat and pad for Ramdin to collect in the leg side.
Sangakkara (17) followed at 104-3,the left-hander lofting a drive straight to Kieron Pollard at extra cover.
When part-time off-spinner Marlon Samuels grabbed the scalp of vice-captain Dinesh Chandimal (21),who chipped to midwicket,the visitors were 140-4 in the 32nd over and never fully recovered.
Mathews fought a lone hand as no other batsman reached double figures.
Fast bowler Rampaul ripped through the late middle order in the batting powerplay,removing Lahiru Thirimanne and Nuwan Kulasekara cheaply.
Thirimanne lofted a slower ball to long-off while Kulasekara top-edged to deep backward square leg.
Narine claimed Jeevan Mendis and Rampaul added the wicket of Rangana Herath before the Sri Lankans limped past 200.
Narine claimed his fourth wicket with a doosra to have Lasith Malinga lbw and Bravo wrapped up the innings by having last man Ajantha Mendis caught at slip.
Mathews remained not out after hitting five fours off 77 balls.
West Indies skipper Bravo finished with 2-37.
Gayle,in front of a few thousand countrymen in the stands,dominated the run pursuit with some typically forceful strokes even as his partner Charles struggled for fluency.
The powerful left-hander raced to fifty off 47 balls,with five fours and four sixes and the partnership passed three figures as none of the Sri Lankans were able to make an impact.
They should have claimed Charles when he was just two but skipper Mathews dropped a sitter at midwicket off Nuwan Kulasekara.
Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath did scalp the right-hander to give Sri Lanka some hope but there was no stopping Gayle.
He eventually fell to a top-edge off spinner Ajantha Mendis but by then,the hosts were in sight of victory.
Darren Bravo was run out for 27 and Kieron Pollard fell for a duck to Kulasekara towards the end,but there was to be no denying West Indies.
Marlon Samuels stroked the winning runs to finish on 15 not out.
The next match in the tournament is on Sunday when West Indies faces recently-crowned ICC Champions Trophy winner India.