File photo of West Indies batsman Chris Gayle. (Getty Images)
Kingston: West Indies skipper Dwayne Bravo says he had "sent a message" to Chris Gayle as he was making a mockery of the Sri Lankan attack, asking the opener to try and go for a bonus-point win in the first match of the tri-nation one-day series here.
Chasing 209, Gayle eventually did manage a bonus-point six-wicket win as he smashed a 100-ball 109 to lead his team to victory with as many as 73 balls to spare at the Sabina Park.
"In the 29th over, we sent a message to Chris to try and win it with a bonus point," Bravo said at the post-match presentation ceremony on Friday. He further added: "Winning the first game is always important. It was important to rotate the bowlers on a flat wicket. We kept taking wickets and stifling their innings."
Opting to field, West Indies rode on Sunil Narine's 4 for 40 to bowl out Sri Lanka for a modest total despite skipper Angelo Mathews' battling, unbeaten half-century. "Narine is our mystery bowler, happy to have him," Bravo said.
Man-of-the-Match Gayle was happy to have got the runs in front of his home crowd. "[It's] been a while having got a century, really good to get it in front of the home crowd," Gayle said. "We restricted them well on a good batting wicket; we utilised the conditions well in the morning. The opening partnership was vital. Coming from England and getting a century was a good thing for me. I am home, you know the conditions well," he added.
Mathews felt his team could never get going after losing the toss. "[It was an] important toss. It [the pitch] was two-paced, holding up a bit. It got easier, but a special hundred by a special person.
"We had to adapt to the wicket but we lost wickets and could not get going, Mahela [Jayawardene] batted brilliantly but he had no partners. We thought we had a chance, the wicket was two-paced, but it flattened out. When Gayle gets going, no attack is enough and no ground big enough," Mathews said.