ICC Trophy Final: Gayle threatens the Australian bounty hunters

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The Independent Online

As England land in Australia to start their Ashes odyssey, their hosts are still in India trying to win the Champions Trophy for the first time. But in today's final they face a resurgent West Indies, who have already beaten them once in the tournament.

The trophy will have to be wrestled from Brian Lara's grasp. West Indies won it last time, in England in late September two years ago. That thrilling two-wicket win over England came courtesy of a brilliant ninth-wicket stand of 71 between Courtney Browne and Ian Bradshaw in near-darkness.

With the World Cup being held in the Caribbean next spring, victory at Bombay's Brabourne Stadium would give West Indies a huge boost. It is vital that they put up a strong showing next March and April for the health of the game in a region that is now dominated by American sport.

Ricky Ponting may go in with a specialist spinner in Brad Hogg on a pitch that was below par for the game between New Zealand and South Africa. West Indies can call upon the spin of their prolific opener Chris Gayle, the man of the tournament so far with three centuries and 437 runs in total.

The usually ice-cool Gayle, who was fined for a heated exchange with Michael Clarke in the first match, allows his side the luxury of playing an extra paceman, with Jerome Taylor rapidly emerging in that department.

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