What took place
Brian Lara is known as the prince of Port of Spain. On November 25, he became the king of Test match cricket when he became the highest scorer in the history of the game. It took place at Adelaide during the West Indies first innings in the third and final Test match in the WI/Australia series.
When he scored 213, Lara equalled Allan Border’s record of 11, 174 runs. The Australian batsman held that record for 12 years and nine months!
By the time Lara was out for 226 he was 13 runs ahead of Border’s record. And the man who got Lara out was his old nemesis Glen McGrath.
The Adelaide Oval crowd of about 20, 000 rose and gave the WI batsman a standing ovation.
About the record, Lara said: “It was a great feeling to do it against Australia, a team that is considered perhaps the greatest team that has ever played the game and one that I’ve had a lot of battles with.”
The star WI batsman paid tribute to Border and Sir Garfield Sobers. He said that after reading what Border had to say about him (Lara) breaking the record, “he is such a humble man, a man I have great respect for.”
Lara talking about Sir Garry said he is a great man and he recalled that when he was 16 years or even younger, “He saw me playing in a schoolboys’ competition and he spoke with me and gave me great encouragement.”
Records seem to be a way with Lara. He holds the record for the world’s highest scorer in first class cricket – 501 not out, the highest score in Test cricket – 400 and this was after setting a record of 375 in 1994.
The top scorers in Test cricket are: Brian Lara (WI) 11, 187; Allan Border (Aus)
11, 174; Stephen Waugh (Aus) 10, 927; Sachin Tendulkar (India) 10, 134; Sunil Gavaskar (India) 10, 122 runs.
Editorials were loud in their praise for Brian Lara. And these papers were from a broad spectrum, from the Caribbean to all the cricketing countries. And this includes most of the Commonwealth countries.
They said that for one who recently had a poor string of runs and some unfavourable umpiring decisions, Lara did well to come back. And in such grand fashion. For one who, it was said, was “over the hill”, Lara silenced the critics, the papers stated.
Most shared the view that his innings signals a new beginning for West Indies cricket, which for the last few years, has been in the doldrums. They stated that his batting would inspire others in the W.I. team to rise to the task “and in that way West Indies cricket would once again the respectability that it deserves.”
The batting star’s feat would also encourage others to get more involved with the game, the newspapers editorialised.
Commentators expressing views about Brian Lara’s feat were lavish in their acclamation. Allan Border, the man whose record Lara broke, was one of the first to congratulate Lara. Said Border: “He is a very worthy holder of the mantle of the greatest run-scorer in Test history.” He added that he would rate him as one of the best three batsmen in the world.
Australian batsman Justin Langer said :” I love watching Lara, he’s the king.” He added: “ I just wish I could bat like that. It’s like he’s manipulating the game of cricket.”
Former England cricketer and now Pakistan’s coach Bob Woolmer called Lara “one of the greatest batsmen of all time.”
Dr. Rudi Webster, former sports psychologist with the W.I. team described Lara as “a maestro.”
Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Sports Roger Boynes said the Government wants to honour West Indies star batsman Brian Lara for breaking yet another batting record, but does not quite know how it will do so.
The Trinidad Guardian recalled that the T&T Government has already recognised Lara for breaking the record for the highest individual innings in a Test match twice in the last ten years. When Lara broke the Test batting record for the first time in 1994, by scoring 375, the Government granted a national holiday and gave him a $250,000 parcel of land off Lady Chancellor Road in St Clair, where he built his mansion.
Lara also received tax, duty and charge exemptions for the importation of a car for his personal use and received the nation’s highest award, the Trinity Cross.
When he broke the record again by scoring 400 not out against England in Antigua last year, the Government did not grant a public holiday, but honoured him with a series of festivities.
The Government has since named a proposed $275 million cricket facility after Lara, in addition to the Brian Lara Promenade in Port-of-Spain.
“We have had great moments in T&T these past few days and now Brian Lara is topping it all off. He is the number one (scorer) of Test runs in the history of the world,” Boynes said.
“It’s coming fast and furious. So we have to be in discussion with that one, because what can you offer Brian Lara again?”
The most centuries in Test cricket:
34- Sachin Tendulkar, India (123 matches) X
34- Sunil Gavaskar, India (125)
32- Steve Waugh, Australia (168)
31- Brian Lara, West Indies (121) X
29- Sir Donald Bradman, Australia (52)
27- Allan Border, Australia (156)
26- Sir Garfield Sobers, West Indies (93)
25- Ricky Ponting, Australia (96) X
24- Matthew Hayden, Australia (75) X
24- Greg Chappell, Australia (87)
24- Sir Vivian Richards, West Indies (121)
24- Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan (104) X
23- Javed Miandad, Pakistan (124)
22- Walter Hammond, England (85)
22-x-Justin Langer, Australia (94)
22- Jacques Kallis, South Africa (94) X
22- Mohammed Azharuddin, India (99)
22- Geoff Boycott, England (108)
22- Sir Colin Cowdrey, England (114)
21- Neil Harvey, Australia (79)
21- Gary Kirsten, South Africa (101)
21- David Boon, Australia (107)
20- Kenneth Barrington, England (82)
20- Rahul Dravid, India (92) X
X – Actively playing cricket