Mature Gayle reaps rewards
Chris Gayle celebrated a landmark win over England in true Jamaican style last night - and believes it might be viewed as his best in West Indies colours in a month's time.
West Indies captain Gayle headed off to the mound stand, where the locals were partying hard after a rare Test win against England, and against any opposition for that matter.
The extraordinary innings-and-23-run victory at Sabina Park was a first against England in 17 attempts and only West Indies' fourth in 40 matches stretching back five years.
"This win is up there," said Gayle. "I rank the Test match we won in South Africa last year highly, that was the first time we had won there but this is definitely up there with the top three.
"We must wait until the end of the series to see whether it can be number one."
England were left shell-shocked by a terrific new-ball spell by Jerome Taylor which left the top order reeling, and giant spinner Sulieman Benn doubled his wicket tally for the match to eight as England were shot out for 51, their third lowest score in history.
"It was the best fast bowling I have seen for a long while and he set the game up for us," Gayle said, of fellow Jamaican Taylor.
"This is what we have been talking about, getting the batting and the bowling combined together and we saw that in this game - it was just tremendous."
Gayle is now a different beast to the man who partied after the Kingston Test against England five years ago - that came after West Indies themselves were rolled for 47.
The new mature version batted with great discipline, to hit a ninth Test hundred, and he led his team expertly in the field.
"I think I can control my aggression now a bit more," said Gayle. "Earlier on in my career I definitely didn't think about stopping. Being able to control it paid off out there.
"England know the type of person I am so they're going to try to bowl a bit wide to me, hoping I will make the mistake.
"But I have been around for a few years now and I have learned as time has gone by.
"The first time being skipper on my home ground was a lot of pressure as captain and batsman in front of home crowd and my family.
"I tried to put that aside and focus on job and it was really brilliant to get a victory."
The two teams now head to Antigua for the second Test, starting next Friday, and Gayle knows his team face challenges ahead.
"We are not going to be lackadaisical, that's for sure, and we are not going to put any added pressure on ourselves," Gayle said. "Expectation from everyone will be high for us to go there and do even better.
"We will just have to play some good, basic, simple cricket like we did here."