Chris Gayle celebrates his 300. * photo

Galle, Sri Lanka – Chris Gayle has given the people of the Caribbean and cricket lovers all over the world 333 reasons to smile. The powerful left-hander made a monumental triple-century as the West Indies amassed 580-9 declared on Day 2 of the 1st ERI Test match. Sri Lankan reached 54-1 in reply at the Galle International Stadium when bad light broad an early close.

Speaking after the day’s play, Gayle flashed his trademark cheerful, big, broad smile and said he was pleased that his knock helped to put the Windies in a strong position and also bring joy to the supporters.

“I am smiling because I know the people of the West Indies are smiling. I am happy that by my batting I can bring happiness to the people and give them something to cheer about. People back home are following the cricket very closely and it is good that they can start the day with some good news,” Gayle said. “A lot of people have been sending me congrats and I want to thank them for their support, not just for me, but for the team as well.”

It was:

·         the second triple century of Gayle’s career following the 317 he made against South Africa in Antigua five years ago

·         the highest score by a West Indian outside the Caribbean, beating Sir Viv Richards’ 291 in England in 1976

·         the highest score against Sri Lanka bettering Younis Khan’s 313

·         the highest score at Galle, surpassing 237 made by Mahela Jayawardene

·         the highest by a West Indian against Sri Lanka surpassing Brian Lara’s 221

Further Gayle is now the fourth batsman in the history of Test cricket to score two triples. The others are: Lara (400 not out and 375), Sir Don Bradman (334 and 304) and Virender Sehwag (319 and 309).

Gayle is one of four West Indians who have made triple-centuries. The other three are Lara, Sir Garfield Sobers (365 not out) and Lawrence Rowe (302).

Gayle hit nine sixes – the most by a West Indian in a Test innings – and 29 fours. He faced 437 balls and was at the crease for close to 11 hours.

“It was not easy. It was hard work out there but I enjoyed it. 333… I’m very happy to achieve another major milestone. I want to say thanks to the guys who supported me and batted so well alongside me. At one stage the bat started to get quite heavy in my hand but the others were telling me just to carry on, stay out there, and get as many as I could.”

During the innings Gayle featured in three century partnerships. He added 110 for the first wicket with Adrian Barath (50); a record 196 for the second wicket with Darren Bravo (58 on debut); and 167 for the fourth wicket with Brendan Nash (64).

“The conditions here are not easy to bat in with the heat and that takes a lot out of you. I was working hard even before I got here at the camp in Barbados and even when I was with the Jamaica team before we entered the camp. I have been working extremely hard and I got some reward here today.”