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Gayle's Manuka mission

IF THERE'S any ground in Australia where Chris Gayle is going to rediscover his explosive best, it's Manuka Oval.

After getting dismissed cheaply in the first two one-dayers on the bouncy WACA pitch, the West Indian master blaster will find conditions more to his liking at the picturesque Canberra venue - the scene of one of the most devastating knocks in his career.

The Windies are hoping Gayle can replicate the stunning 146 off just 89 balls he pummelled off the Prime Minister's XI three years ago as they hope to keep the series with Australia alive.

Down 2-0 in the best of five contest, the Windies could desperately do with Gayle making a strong contribution in Wednesday's day-nighter.

The 33-year-old made just four in both games to continue on from his terrible Big Bash League form with the Sydney Thunder, where he made a solitary half century.

Gayle looked in good nick during a lengthy net session at Manuka Oval on Tuesday, and captain Darren Sammy had no doubt he'd be able to hit his way out of his slump.


''Chris is his own man, he's the coolest fella I know,'' Sammy said.

''Whether he's happy or sad or smiley or whatever, you don't tell, he got one mood.

''I think he's quite confident, he'll back his ability.

''He knows his teammates support him throughout whatever he's going through.

''You can never count him out.

''It's always important for us to get that good start, and tomorrow could be the day.''

After getting bundled out for a paltry 70 in the opening game, the Windies were in a strong position to level the series before a late collapse, triggered by in-form paceman Mitchell Starc, saw Sunday's match swing Australia's way.

The Windies lost their final seven wickets for just 53 runs to go from 3-159 to be all out for 212 in response to Australia's 7-266.

''The last game was one we should've won,'' Sammy conceded.

''We as a group believe we can leave here 2-1, but saying that we've got to play a perfect match.

''We know once we play well, we're very destructive.''

The reigning Twenty20 world champions are set to be boosted by the return of paceman Andre Russell, who suffered a calf injury in last week's 23-run loss to the PM's XI. Russell still made a dramatic impact with the bat, blasting 54 from only 24 balls, including five monster sixes, to give the Windies a chance of victory.

The Windies have traditionally struggled against Australia, but Sammy isn't giving up hope of launching a late resurgence.

''We've not won a series I think in the last 20 years, but it's not impossible,'' he said.

''We as a group still believe we can still do it.

''From now on, every game is a final for us and we've got to play like that.''

The skipper is also unconcerned about raining on Canberra's parade, in the first game Australia has played in the national capital.