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Lara's 400 stuns world - Tuesday 13, April-2004

Brian Lara in AntiguaSEALED WITH A KISS. West Indies captain Brian Lara kissing the ground in celebration of his record-breaking score on the third day of the fourth and final Test against England at the Antigua Recreation Ground. (Picture by Brooks LaTouche Photography.)

by PHILIP SPOONER in Antigua
All cricketdom arose yesterday to proclaim Brian Charles Lara as the all-conquering king of cricket.

Homage was paid to the Trinidadian left-hander for his super-human batting performance at the Antigua Recreation Ground, where he first reclaimed the record for the highest score in a Test innings and then became the first man in Test history to make a quadruple-century.

His 400 not out off 582 balls came in just under 13 hours and included 43 fours and four sixes. In doing so, he eclipsed the previous batting record of 380 established just six months ago by Australia’s Matthew Hayden.

It took the side to 752 for five declared – the second highest score in West Indies history and the highest by any country against England.

“When I scored it before I didn’t know what to expect,” the West Indies captain said. “This time it was tiring but I’mhere again.

“Matthew Hayden musthave batted very well against Zimbabwe. It doesn’t matterwho you play against, it isvery hard.”

The two strokes of genius, which took him to the record, showcased the awesome nature of his brilliance. At 374 he advanced down the pitch to hoist spinner Gareth Batty into the crowd. Lara clenched hisfist and this sent a buzz around the ground. At 11:45 a.m., the next ball was swept for four and Lara became the first man to recapture the world record.

Immediately, he leaped in the air and celebrated, and moments later removed his helmet, kissed the West Indies logo on the front and saluted the cheering crowd. He then kissed the pitch as he had done on April 18, 1994 when he surpassed the old standard of 365 made by Sir Garfield Sobers.

Cameras flashed and television crews joined the action in the middle as Lara got up and flashed a smile that could have lit up the entire Caribbean.

He was greeted by Baldwin Spencer, the ly-elected Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, and all 11 members of the England side came forward to congratulate him as thecrowd erupted.

He went to lunch at 390 and the magical 400th run came with another sweep for a single. The celebration was much more low-keyed but Lara was the picture of a contented man.

He had not only broken a world record and scaled heights, but also restored pride and dignity to his people.

Compliments of the Nation News


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