Gayle, Sarwan carry fight to toiling England

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan hit unbeaten half-centuries as West Indies racked 160-1 in reply to England's 318 by the close of the second day.

Updated: February 06, 2009 16:27 IST
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Kingston, Jamaica:

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

Left-hander Gayle smacked 71 not out while Sarwan was fluent in compiling an undefeated 74. The experienced pair added 142 unbroken in three and a half hours at Sabina Park.

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 batters.

"It's important that we try to bat ourselves into a good position and hopefully put England under pressure."

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.

The West Indies fast bowlers made inroads with the second new ball early on day two.

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 4 soon afterward 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 7 while Benn claimed fellow spinner Panesar for a duck.

Flintoff struck early for England as Devon Smith failed to pick up a full-length delivery on 6 and was eventually ruled out lbw. Smith had initially been given not out by umpire Tony Hill of New Zealand but, after the TV review, he changed his decision to send Smith on his way.

Sarwan survived a couple of anxious moments early on, including an out lbw against Harmison which was overturned on review.

But he and Gayle, who hit his 50th six in Tests, gradually began to dominate against a flagging England attack.

England skipper Andrew Strauss used six bowlers but none could find another breakthrough in the final three hours of the day.

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