Charles finds his feet with maiden ton

Melbourne, Australia – Johnson Charles is hoping his maiden century for West Indies will be the massive boost that will jump-start his international career.

The strong opener hit 100 off 121 balls against Australia on Sunday, but it was not enough to prevent the Windies from suffering their fifth defeat in the five-match series.

It was the first time Charles passed 50 in his ODI career and according to him he was determined to make it count in a big way. It led the West Indies to 257 all out as they fell 17 runs short after Australia made 274-5 in front a crowd of 22,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

“It’s a massive relief, it felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders to get my first century for West Indies. I’m hoping this is the first of many more to come,” said Charles, who is a graduate of the Sagicor West Indies High Performance Centre.

“Coming from a bad patch in the Caribbean T20 [last month], it felt really good to get my first century for West Indies here in Australia. To get it at the MCG is also something special for me as well. This is one of the great grounds around the cricket world and I felt honoured to play here... I feel even more honoured to get my first century here,” added Charles, who celebrated his 24th birthday three weeks ago.

“It was very tough out there in the middle. The Aussies have been bowling well from the start of the series and they bowled well again. I had to make sure I saw off the new ball. Throughout the tour and even before, the coach has been advising me to see off the new ball, and I knew even if I got a slow start I could still make up at the end. It was a slow start but after the shine on the ball came off it got a bit easier from there.”

Charles added: “The game-plan was to ‘bat out’ the whole 50 overs. I knew if I batted through the innings we would come away with a win. That didn’t happen for me today, that was the only disappointment for me today.”

For the first half of Charles’ innings it was a battle of attrition against the Australian bowlers, but he blossomed in the second half with some attractive shots – including some classic off-side drives and a huge six over wide long-on into the crowd. He reached his first half-century off 70 balls and required just 50 more balls to get the second 50. Overall he hit eight fours and a six.

Charles made his ODI debut for West Indies against Australia last year, and later during the year spent eight months at the Sagicor West Indies High Performance Centre, where he was able to refine his batting technique and improve his overall approach to the game with the help of the coaching staff.

“Being at the Sagicor HPC gave me an opportunity to work on my batting. One of the key things [I learnt] was to be patient. With the new ball is when you are most vulnerable. I learned to settle down and I realised once I could get through the new ball it would get easier. I have been on the team for over a year and with what I am capable of, I felt it was about time I got a century. I hope it is the start of more to come,” Charles said.

The West Indies will travel to Brisbane on Monday as they prepare for the one-off T20 International, which is slated for Wednesday at the Gabba. First ball is 6:35 pm (4:35 am Eastern Caribbean Time/3:35 am Jamaica Time).

Sun, 02/10/2013 - 10:53