West Indies' Gayle hits first Twenty20 century

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JOHANNESBURG, Sep 11 (Reuters) Chris Gayle slammed the first century in Twenty20 international cricket as West Indies scored 205 for six wickets in the opening game of the ICC world tournament against South Africa.

The 27-year-old opened the innings and hammered a creaking South African attack for a record 10 sixes as he made 117 off just 57 balls.

South Africa went wicketless until the 14th over as Gayle and Devon Smith put on an opening stand of 145 off 86 balls, the highest in Twenty20 history -- beating the unbroken 132 made by South Africa's Graeme Smith and Loots Bosman against Pakistan in Johannesburg earlier this year.

Smith was caught behind off a cramped slash off Vernon Philander for 35 that included just three boundaries.

The left-handed Gayle preferred the aerial route, hitting seven fours and his 10 sixes doubled the record of five shared by Australians Ricky Ponting, Damian Martyn and Adam Gilchrist.

Gayle was eventually dismissed in the 17th over when an attempted hook off Johan van der Wath went straight up in the air, gifting wicketkeeper Mark Boucher with a simple catch.

South Africa's bowlers came back well to limit the West Indies to 38 runs in the last five overs with Van der Wath taking two for 33 and Morne Morkel one for 30 in their four-over spells.

REUTERS RAR BST2340

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