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Sobers advice pays off for Gayle
- 'I was looking to get as close as possible to (Lara's) 400'
Brian Lara during his unbeaten 400

St John's: Chris Gayle admitted that advice from West Indies cricket legend Sir Garfield Sobers played a major role in his epic triple hundred in the fourth and final Test against South Africa here on Monday.

Gayle made 317 in a West Indies total of 565 for five, replying to South Africa's first innings total of 588 for six declared, to become the fourth West Indies batsman to hit a Test triple hundred.

Teammate and former West Indies captain Brian Lara heads the list, with his world record 400 not out last year ' and 375 in 1994 ' against England, both coming at the Antigua Recreation Ground.

Sobers, who held the previous world record of 365 not out against Pakistan in Kingston in 1958, and Gayle's fellow-Jamaican Lawrence Rowe, with his silky 302 against England in Bridgetown in 1974, have also reached such rare heights for the West Indies.

'I have been working hard with Sir Garfield in the nets and it really paid off in this match,' said Gayle. 'He has talked a lot to us about keeping our balance when playing strokes and giving momentum to our innings.

'We spent a long time in the indoor nets in Barbados ' Wavell Hinds, Sir Garfield, and myself ' and we talked about a lot of things, and I was fortunate that it paid off for me in this innings.'

In his four previous innings in the series, Gayle had scores of six, one, zero, and five, and he admitted to being under pressure.

'After playing the previous two Tests and not scoring any significant runs, there was obviously pressure for me to deliver,' he conceded.

'I told myself that I would have to dig deep in this Test, and cash in on this pitch. I always wanted a start. It happened in this match and, hopefully, I can now carry on from here, and get a few more big scores like this.'

Gayle admitted he had his sights on Lara's record on a day that Lara fell for just 4 on his 36th birthday. 'Yeah, definitely. I was looking to hopefully build on it and try to get as close as possible to 400 on the final day,' he said. 'But it didn't happen and I'm thankful for what I got today (Monday).'

Gayle, who was dismissed when he top-edged a lazy cut at a short, rising ball from Monde Zondeki, disclosed that the fatigue factor had slowly crept up on him during his innings, preventing him from taking a shot at Lara's world record.

Gayle batted for 10 and a half hours, faced 483 balls and hit 37 fours and three sixes.

'I was really tired coming towards the end of my innings,' he said. 'We had spent a little over two days in the field, and it was very challenging having to come out to bat about an hour before lunch on Sunday. But I had to pull myself together to get the job done.

'The increased amount of bowling I have been doing has also contributed to me getting tired, but I will have to pace myself. I do not want to do too much and overdo it.'

On Sunday, when he reached 184 not out, Gayle dedicated his innings to his mother, Hazelyn Gilroy. He said he had telephoned her after Sunday's play.

'She was very happy, she said, 'Go get the next one',' Gayle said. (AFP)

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