582 DELIVERIES, 43 FOURS, 4 SIXES
WEST INDIES V ENGLAND, 4TH TEST, ANTIGUA, 2004
West Indies 751-5dec (Lara 400, Jacobs 107*) drew with England 285 (Flintoff 102*; Collins 4-76) & 422-5 (f/o) (Vaughan 140, Trescothick 88)
OPPOSITION ATTACK: Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison, Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones, Gareth Batty
Almost 10 years to the day since Brian Lara gorged on England to break his mentor Garry Sobers’ record for the highest individual Test score, he was at it again, at the same venue, against the same opposition.
The match, it must be said, was not a classic. The hosts were 3-0 down in the series and with the West Indian attack lacking any great potency, Lara decided the best prospect of avoiding a whitewash was for him to bat, bat and bat some more. He could not have done it more emphatically.
There was perhaps a little less sparkle in his strokeplay than a decade previously, and the fanfare upon breaking the record didn’t begin to compare to the scenes of celebration in 1994 when he passed Sobers’ milestone, but the stamina and ruthlessness of the man could only be marvelled at. Aside from a sharp caught and bowled chance spurned by Gareth Batty when Lara was on 293, his 13-hour innings was more or less chanceless.
Lara needed just 185 days, or 19 innings, to reclaim the record that Matthew Hayden had taken from him, in the process becoming the first batsman to have held the record twice.
‘IT CALLED FOR SOMEONE TO PLAY A BIG INNINGS’
My foremost thought as captain was that we didn’t lose this series 4-0. If you speak to Michael Vaughan he’ll tell you that I was out on zero but I didn’t feel the ball on the bat and I’m only going to walk when I know I’m out. It called for someone to play a big innings and I was happy to do so. They had a couple of guys, like Nasser Hussain and Graham Thorpe, who were a part of the 375 and the 400 – they weren’t happy! It was another momentous time in my life.
Brian Lara, AOC 134