Century against UAE in the World Cup qualifiers puts Chris Gayle in an exclusive club

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Gayle has now registered ODI tons against 11 different countries.

As the West Indies beat the UAE by 60 runs in their ICC 2019 World Cup qualifier in Harare on Wednesday, there was an even greater reason to smile for Chris Gayle.

The swashbuckling left-hander had blasted his way to a 91-ball 123, clubbing a staggering 11 sixes and seven boundaries during his entertaining stay at the Zimbabwean city.

The century was Gayle’s 23rd of his ODI career but it was whom it came against that made it all the more special for the Caribbean star.

Wednesday’s ton means that the 38-year-old has now scored a one-day century against 11 different countries, making him only the third batsman in history to do so.

Only two other batsmen in the game have achieved this rare feat – India’s Sachin Tendulkar and South Africa’s Hashim Amla.

Out of the 11 other full ICC members (including Afghanistan and Ireland), Gayle has scored a ton against all but three sides. They are Australia, Afghanistan and Ireland.

Apart from them, he has also registered centuries against Kenya, Canada and now the UAE.

In comparison, Tendulkar’s 49 ODI tons came against 11 different opposition. Among the full ICC members, the only countries he has not scored a century against are the two latest entrants – Afghanistan and Ireland. Apart from the full members, he has also registered hundreds against the likes of Namibia and Kenya.

On the other hand, Afghanistan is the only full member against whom Amla has not scored an ODI hundred. He has a ton against Netherlands which completes his list of 11 countries.

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Time to unleash Kagiso Rabada and more South Africa and Australia second Test talking points

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It might be time for South Africa to remove the lid on Rabada.

The second Test between South Africa and Australia is all set to get underway on Friday at Port Elizabeth. The tourists hold a 1-0 lead in the four-match series after a 118-run win in the opening Test at Durban.

After the opening Test in which a lot of drama occurred, the tensions will be heightened when both sides meet at Port Elizabeth.

Here, we look at the key talking points ahead of the clash.

WARNER-DE KOCK FIASCO DOMINATES SHOWDOWN

Though Australia fashioned a brilliant victory in the first Test, all the talk since has been on the confrontation between David Warner and Quinton de Kock that took place on the fourth day.

The Aussie has accepted the match-referee’s Level 2 charge against him for bringing the game into disrepute and finally broke his silence on the matter when he called the South African’s remarks ‘vile and disgusting’.

In comparison, the Proteas wicketkeeper contested the Level 1 charges against him though he failed to escape a fine following the hearing. Expect the atmosphere in the second Test to be edgy after plenty of blame games from both camps after the ugly spat.

There will be no shortage of animosity between both sides due to the spat.

There will be no shortage of animosity between both sides due to the spat.

CAN PROTEAS STOP AUSTRALIA’S FAB FOUR?

Australia’s bowling attack lived up to its fearsome reputation in Durban, bundling out the hosts cheaply in the first innings to pave the path for victory.

With world-class pacers in Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood and a leading spinner in Nathan Lyon, the visitors have as complete a bowling attack one might want.

The Durban Test was the fifth time the four bowlers had played together in the Australian whites. They have remarkably won all five of them. With the same bowling attack expected to turn up at Port Elizabeth, there seems to be no respite in sight for the hosts who will need to massively up their game.

Australia have won all five Test the 'Fab Four' has played together.

Australia have won all five Tests in which the ‘Fab Four’ have played together.

TIME TO UNLEASH THE RABADA?

While Australia’s pace attack is one to be feared, South Africa’s isn’t too shabby either with young Kagiso Rabada leading the line. Dale Steyn inferred that Rabada was bowling like a caged animal in the first Test after copping fines and demerit points for his aggressiveness in earlier matches.

Like Virat Kohli, the youngster thrives in the heat of battle and likes to get stuck into the opposition to bring out the best in him.

After all the drama in the opening Test, Rabada will be itching to have a go at the Australian batsmen, especially Warner, who can expect a barrage of verbal volleys aimed at him from all quarters. An unleashed Rabada might just be the tonic South Africa needs for now.

Warner v Rabada will be a spicy battle.

Warner v Rabada will be a spicy battle.

HOSTS NEED TAIL TO SING

While South Africa’s top-order failed miserably in the first innings at Durban, much of their undoing came due to the measly contributions of their tail.

They lost their last five wickets for 12 runs in first innings. They fared marginally better in the second, scoring 15 runs as Mitchell ‘ender of tails’ Starc made merry.

If Faf du Plessis’ men need to mount a comeback in the series, they will  definitely need a bit more from their tail-enders.

Starc has wrecked havoc on the South African tail so far.

Starc has wrecked havoc on the South African tail so far.

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Virat Kohli can overtake Sachin Tendulkar's records, says Australia great Glenn McGrath

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McGrath is backing Kohli to overtake his idol's records.

Former Australia pacer Glenn McGrath believes Virat Kohli can break the records set by the legendary Sachin Tendulkar if he keeps playing in the same vein.

Having had many a great battles with Sachin during his playing days, the Aussie’s authority on the subject is not in question.

Speaking to the Hindu in Chennai, the Australia great talked about the India skipper in length, including strategies about where to bowl to him. “If he (Kohli) continues to bat the way he is doing now, he could well go past Sachin’s records,” McGrath said.

“I don’t like to compare eras. Every era makes it own demands and the pitches, generally, are better for batting these days. Sachin, on his day, could decimate attacks. Kohli is a very attacking batsman too,” he added.

With 56 international tons to his name, Kohli is 44 behind Sachin’s record of 100 centuries. He is well placed to overhaul the legendary batsman’s of 49 ODI centuries having already become the second-highest ton-maker in the format with 35 of his own.

McGrath had some fascinating duels with Sachin at their peaks.

McGrath had some fascinating duels with Sachin at their peaks.

When speaking about how he would contain the 29-year-old batting sensation, McGrath had some theories of his own.

“Kohli is a quality batsman, a confidence player, and as a bowler, I will cut off his scoring areas and build pressure. He is good through the off-side, I would block him there. He is good off his legs too and again I would deny him runs in that area,” he explained.

“Kohli is solid technically, has an aggressive attitude, goes about his cricket with passion and I would like to play on his mind, prevent him from scoring freely.

“And I would bowl an in-between length at Kohli, neither too full nor too short and cramp him for room.

“There are other tactics too, McGrath says, that could work against Kohli. “For instance, you could have an aggressive field and bowl a defensive line. There are areas to score but the ball is not there to be hit. It forces mistakes.”

Considered to be amongst the finest of pacers to grace international cricket, McGrath played 124 Tests for Australia, picking up 563 wickets. He is the all-time leading wicket-taker amongst pacers in the format.

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