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Gayle, Sarwan put Windies in control

CAPTAIN Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan hit unbeaten half-centuries as the West Indies racked 160-1 in reply to England's 318 by the close of the second day of the first test on Thursday.

Left-hander Gayle smacked 71 not out while Sarwan was fluent in compiling an undefeated 74. The experienced pair added 142 runs in 3 1/2 hours at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica.

The powerful Gayle slammed three fours and three sixes off 120 deliveries while right-hander Sarwan, more stylish, cracked seven fours off 181 balls.

"We have had quite a few collapses in the last few years," Sarwan said. "Hopefully myself and Chris can go on to get a big score as well as the rest of the batsmen."

The day included five TV challenges by the players, with two decisions made by the on-field umpire overturned.

Earlier, England added 82 runs to its overnight 236-5 before being bowled out for 318 just after lunch. Wicketkeeper Matt Prior hit a fine 64, including seven fours, off 108 balls. Left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn collected career-best figures of 4-77. Pacer Jerome Taylor took 3-74.

Andrew Flintoff failed to add to his overnight 43 as he slapped a short ball from Daren Powell straight to backward point. Taylor accounted for Stuart Broad for four soon after as the left-hander skewed a drive to gully, and England dipped to 256-7.

Prior found an able ally in Ryan Sidebottom with 26 not out, adding 32 for the eighth wicket. But Benn claimed the England wicketkeeper just as he was beginning to flourish, the lanky bowler snaring a fine return catch to his left.

Steve Harmison and Monty Panesar both fell leg before wicket after lunch, despite both batsmen challenging their decisions.

Taylor accounted for Harmison for seven while Benn claimed fellow spinner Panesar for a duck.


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