KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) – The outstanding Chris Gayle struck a record-breaking 20th One-Day International century while Marlon Samuels hammered his first in six years as West Indies brushed aside hapless New Zealand by 55 runs to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series on Saturday.
Sent in at Sabina Park in the second of two matches in three days at the venue, West Indies piled up 315 for five off their 50 overs with Gayle smashing a typically stroke-filled 125 and Jamaican counterpart Samuels getting an unbeaten 101.
In reply, New Zealand faltered from a position of 121 for two to 260 all out to lose their fourth straight match in series following on from their dismal performance in the Twenty20 series last weekend.
BJ Watling stroked an attacking, unbeaten 72 and captain Kane Williamson (59) and the experienced Martin Guptill (51) gathered half-centuries but the target proved beyond their capabilities.
Fast bowler Ravi Rampaul led the West Indies attack with three for 50, while beguiling off-spinner Sunil Narine (two for 45) and part-time off-spinner Samuels (two for 46), provided support with a brace of wickets apiece.
The victory was, however, set up by Gayle who took centre stage before his home crowd in another well-paced innings at the top of the order to guide the Windies.
He hit eight fours and nine sixes off 107 balls to register his first ODI century in three years and surpass legendary batsman Brian Lara for the most centuries in one-day cricket by a West Indian.
The innings represented the fourth time in five innings Gayle has gone past fifty since his return to West Indies colours last month, following a lengthy stand-off with the West Indies Cricket Board.
Samuels, meanwhile, extended his superb form that started on the tour of England as he carved out his third ODI century and his first-ever three-figure score in international cricket in the Caribbean.
The right-hander faced 103 balls and struck seven fours and one six. He and Gayle added 129 for the third wicket in a rollicking stand that put the Windies course for their eventual total.
Yet again, opener Lendl Simmons fell cheaply when he edged fast bowler Tim Southee (three for 55) behind for three at ten for one in the fourth over of the innings.
Gayle then put on 88 for the second wicket with Dwayne Smith who hit 24 from 36 balls before holding out to long-off off leg-spinner Tarun Nethula in the 19th over.
Kieron Pollard (8) and Dwayne Bravo (3) were both removed by Southee but captain Darren Sammy joined Samuels to put on 62 off 36 balls in an unbroken sixth wicket stand. Sammy finished on 31 from 21 balls.
With the early damage done, it was left to their bowlers to complete the job.
Meanwhile, West Indies have named an unchanged side for the third One-Day International against New Zealand, starting Wednesday at Warner Park in St Kitts.
There had been speculation over Lendl Simmons’ spot, with the opener gathering just 54 runs in his last six innings, but selectors have decided to stick with the winning combination.
The 13-man squad left Jamaica yesterday for Basseterre which will host the next three ODIs. Selectors will name the squad for the fourth ODI following Wednesday’s game.
SQUAD – Darren Sammy (captain), Dwayne Smith, Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles, Lendl Simmons, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Denesh Ramdin (wicketkeeper), Andre Russell, Tino Best, Sunil Narine and Ravi Rampaul.