EZRA STUART at Kensington Oval
A FOUR-YEAR-OLD BOY suffering from the dreaded disease leukemia got a
dream gift yesterday, 24 hours after meeting the world's best batsman.
It wasn't in the form of medication or treatment, but remained inspiring
Little Ramon, a four-year old from Government Hill, St Michael, who actually
missed Brian Lara's innings yesterday because he had to go for treatment,
met Lara on Wednesday, and told him how much he liked the batting supremo.
"I met a Lara fan yesterday," a smiling Lara told a packed news
conference at Kensington Oval after scoring a brilliant 130 against Pakistan
that etched his name deeper into cricket's history books.
" His name is Ramon, a four-year-old suffering with leukemia. He
is going in for treatment today [yesterday] so he asked me if I could
get a hundred, so this one is for Ramon."
Unbelievably, it actually took Lara 15 years to score a Test century against
But he got the elusive hundred in grand style with consecutive sixes against
the highly-touted leg-spinner Danish Kaneria to join an elite band of
batsmen to score centuries against every Test-playing country.
Previously, South African Gary Kirsten, Australian Steve Waugh and India's
pair of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar were the only ones to perform
such a feat.
Ironically, Lara, now 36 years old, made his Test debut against Pakistan
in 1990 and only twice in eight Tests and 14 innings, had he made half-centuries.
His previous highest score was 96 in 1993 but Lara gave the Pakistani
bowlers a taste of his blazing bat with a vintage knock of 130, with 16
fours and four sixes off 120 balls in 164 minutes.
"Most importantly, looking at the stats, you figure you need a hundred
against Pakistan. That was of course in the back of my mind and I think
if you get a hundred, the team is definitely going to benefit," Lara
said at the end of the day's play.
"It has been a long time. Pakistan was the only country that was
missing in the list of Test hundreds and I am really happy to get it today,"
"Unfortunately again, today (yesterday), like my three hundreds this
season, maybe Trinidad was fine, were not sufficient ... for what the
team really required. It is the first day of a Test match and you're already
in the field."
Lara joined the late Australian legend, Sir Donald Bradman on 29 Test
centuries and pushed his Test aggregate to 10 617 runs, behind only Aussies
Allan Border (11 174) and Steve Waugh (10 927).
"I am hoping that this form continues. The bane in my cricket has
been my inconsistency in my batting and I hope that it (run-scoring) can
carry on throughout the year," Lara said.
"I think that if I can muster a little more runs up in my second
innings, I would feel a lot better. I think if you are going out there
to bat in your second innings of a Test match after scoring a hundred,
you should know the conditions and you should get something that is going
to benefit the team."
But he expressed disappointment that the team did not bat out the entire
first day with wickets in hand.
"I thought myself and Shiv (Chanderpaul) were really putting on a
good partnership. Pakistan was on the back foot and all of sudden, it
just fell apart," Lara said, noting he would accept the blame for
not batting on.
"Unfortunately, I didn't carry on. I think 130 is fine but you need
to carry on, especially when you are well set. Shiv didn't have the kind
of support afterwards. It is not the sort of surface that you need to
be all-out on the first day or early on the second day so it is a bit