Gayle puts West Indies in command with triple century

The former captain makes 333 to become only the fourth player to make two triple tons to put the tourists on top in Sri Lanka.

Chris Gayle became only the fourth batsman to have scored two triple centuries as West Indies finished the second day of the first Test against Sri Lanka with a lead of 526 in Galle.

The West Indies opener, recently sacked as the captain, hit 333 to join Don Bradman, Brian Lara and Virender Sehwag as the only players to have scored more than one triple ton.

While Gayle will dominate the headlines, Ajantha Mendis also had a highly successful day to end with six for 169 as West Indies declared on 580 for nine after losing six wickets for just 21 runs.

In reply Sri Lanka were 54 for one at the close, Tillakaratne Dilshan the man out for a duck.

Sri Lanka restricted the visitors to just 67 runs off 30 overs in the first session but the action soon speeded up after lunch.

Gayle and the vice-captain Brendan Nash steadily moved on the score before the former looked as though he had become the victim of a soft dismissal on 287.

Dammika Prasad sent in a bouncer which surprised Gayle whose shot looped up to give Kumar Sangakkara the easiest of catches.

However, replays showed the bowler had overstepped and the umpire ruled a no-ball and Gayle escaped.

Gayle then brought up his 300 in the 144th over with a superb cover drive off Mendis to reach his landmark.

It is the highest away score by a West Indies batsman, eclipsing Sir Viv Richards’s 291 against England at The Oval in 1976.

Gayle surpassed his previous Test best of 317, but was bowled by Mendis soon after.

By that time Nash had fallen for 64 and Dwayne Bravo had followed him for five, both lbw to Mendis.

And with the spinner ripping through the tail — he bowled new captain Darren Sammy for a duck and Andre Russell for two — West Indies declared, leaving the hosts with a tricky mini-session to negotiate before stumps.

They did not enjoy the most inspired of starts with Dilshan’s removal for a duck but Sangakkara and Tharanga Paranavitana moved the score on to 54 for one at stumps, the former hitting seven boundaries in his unbeaten 33 off 32 deliveries.