Brian Lara’s batting – A joy to behold

back icon
safari
02 May 2020 | 07:13 AM
authorNitin Fernandes

Brian Lara’s batting – A joy to behold

Today is the birthday of one of the greatest batsmen to ever play cricket – Brian Charles Lara

heart

Share

After a tiring day, some people attempt to distress by switching on their television sets to watch a film. Some by bringing their favourite recipe to life. Some try to immerse themselves in silence and relish a sense of calm. And some by watching old videos of Brian Lara bat.

There are a few things as pleasing to the eye as Lara’s batting during his international cricketing days was. The magnificent cover drive, the glorious cut, the majestic pull – you could go on and on adding adjectives to a shot which Lara played.

Lara entered the international cricketing scene when Viv Richards was in the twilight of his career. Richards was not just an exquisite batsman, he was larger than life. West Indies were the dominant team during this era, and among a constellation of stars, Richards stood out. And when the great Antiguan called it a day, it was Lara’s time to shine. While it was colossal shoes to fill, Lara sure did a fine job.

Lara is one of only seven batsmen currently to have made 10,000+ runs in both Tests and ODIs. He possesses a Test average of over 50 and an ODI average above 40. These numbers not only tell you that Lara was a truly world-class cricketer, but that he was among the greatest. 

As of April 2020, two of the three highest Test scores of all time were made by Lara. But when you note down his greatest knock in red-ball cricket, you – most likely – won’t include either of those innings. In 1994, against England at St. John’s (Antigua and Barbuda), he scored 375, thereby breaking the then record for the highest Test score. Yet, he had a better innings in his Test career? Yes.

10 years later. Against the same opposition. At the same venue. Time to reclaim the record. Australia’s Matthew Hayden had scored 380 against Zimbabwe in 2003, but Lara wouldn’t let him have the record for long. Lara became the first batsman in history to notch up a quadruple century in a Test innings in April 2004. He scored 400 runs in a single Test knock and yet had a better innings in his Test career? Yes.

In 2001, when Wisden compiled a list of the greatest Test innings ever, they included three of Lara’s knocks in the top 20. An international career that was far from done at the time had already produced three of the game’s greatest individual innings.

While the 375 was at the 10th spot, Lara’s 213 against Australia at Kingston (Jamaica) in 1999 was 14th. The latter was a knock played under tremendous pressure. Coming into that Kingston Test, West Indies were 0-1 down in the series and had lost all five Tests in South Africa a few months earlier. In addition to that, Lara hadn’t scored a Test century since he had taken over as full-time captain. The hosts were reduced to 5/2 when Lara came out to bat and the score soon read 34/4. Trailing Australia by over 200 runs at the time, the Windies captain’s back was against the wall. And it was a mighty wall. 

Lara wasn’t giving up without a fight though. Against a bowling line-up that consisted of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, the left-handed batsman fought gallantly to turn a dreadful situation into one of great celebration – not only for him but the entire West Indies. But arguably his greatest Test innings was to come in the next match, a knock which Wisden had rated as the second best of all time back then.

Lara had turned a corner in Kingston and if you thought that was the best he could produce, it didn’t take long for the Prince of Trinidad to prove you wrong. Just a fortnight later, in Bridgetown (Barbados), West Indies once again found themselves in a precarious situation. This time, it was in the fourth innings of the match. Chasing 308, West Indies were reduced to 105/5 and then 248/8. Australia with the game in the bag? Not with Lara around.

Lara’s unbeaten 153, as West Indies won by one wicket, was surreal. It defied all odds. In the same month (March 1999), Lara had played two of the greatest knocks of all time. The fact that Australia dropped Warne, considered by many as the greatest spinner of all time, for the fourth Test speaks volumes about those two innings. Almost single-handedly, Lara had given his team the lead in the series.

Lara played another blinder in the fourth Test at St. John’s. It’s not as widely remembered as the ones that came just before because West Indies would lose the Test. But this knock showed the audacity and authority with which Lara batted at times. In the home team’s first innings, he came into bat when the score read 20/2 and was dismissed at 136/3. Out of the 116 runs in the partnership, he had scored a hundred at a quicker rate than a run-a-ball. It was a stunning display of top-quality batsmanship.

Lara wasn’t just about the records and the match-winning efforts though. More than anything, it is the joy that comes with watching him bat. For hours and hours, you can watch Lara play a cover drive and not feel any boredom or fatigue. Today is his birthday and what better way to treat yourself than to spend it by watching old videos of the West Indian maestro at his best. Whether you’ve had a tiring time or not, it will only enhance your day.

heart
shareGray Share
Tags
West IndiesBrian Charles Lara

Related Articles

safari
NEWS
Pant has vastly improved his off-side game, feels Brian Lara
Lara said Pant now has the ability to score runs all around the park
userPTI
09 Oct 2020
safari
NEWS
West Indies can't last five days as batting is a concern, says Lara
The great asked Windies to consider the matches as four-day games as the visitors don't have the firepower to last five days
userPTI
07 Jul 2020
safari
ONTHISDAY
The unconquerable 501*!
On this day, Brian Lara registered the highest score in first-class cricket history
userHardik Worah
06 Jun 2020
safari
ONTHISDAY
Brian Lara bows out without a fuss
On this day in 2007, Brian Lara played his final international match
userPramod Ananth
21 Apr 2020
safari
QUIZ
QUIZ: 300+ scores in Tests
Do you know the two batsmen who have scored a triple century and a century in the same Test?
userCricket.Com Staff
12 Apr 2020
safari
ONTHISDAY
Brian Lara: The genius who breached the 400 barrier
On this day, the West Indian great became the first and only batsman to score a 400 in Test cricket
userPramod Ananth
12 Apr 2020
safari
NEWS
Was getting ready to congratulate David Warner: Brian Lara
Warner hit 335 against Pakistan and looked set to pass Lara's 400 mark before skipper Tim Paine declared the innings
userPTI
02 Dec 2019
safari
NEWS
West Indies players can work on mental aspect, feels Lara
Lara conducted a session with the Test squad before the start of the two-match series
userPTI
20 Aug 2019
safari
NEWS
Lara, Sarwan to work with West Indies batsmen before India Tests
Jimmy Adams, Cricket West Indies’ (CWI) Director of Cricket, was grateful to Lara and Sarwan for coming on board
userPTI
16 Aug 2019
safari
NEWS
There is huge gap between Kohli and rest of the world: Lara
The West Indian great picked his 213 against Australia as his best knock.
userPTI
04 Jul 2019
logo
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
FacebookTwitterLinkedin
@ 2020 cricket.com | All rights reserved