HomeAnalysisCelebrating 3 greatest knocks by Brian Lara in Test...

Celebrating 3 greatest knocks by Brian Lara in Test Cricket

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Brain Lara retired more than 13 years ago, but even today, when his name is uttered, it evokes the utmost respect in the cricketing world.

He was a man whose flamboyance was matched by none in the cricketing world, a man who shone like a bright luminous sun in an otherwise ordinary West Indian batting line up.

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In a distinguished 17 years career, Brian Charles Lara dismantled several bowling attacks with splendor and will go down as the greatest batsman of his era, on par with the iconic Sachin Tendulkar.

His rollicking cover drive left the crowd in raptures and his pull in front of square made the opposition cringe in utter disbelief.

On the occasion of his 51st birthday, let us relive 3 greatest knocks by Brian Lara in Test cricket.

3 greatest knocks by Brian Lara

#3.375 Vs England (1994)

3 greatest knocks by Brian Lara
375* against England in 1994 is one of the 3 greatest knocks by Brian Lara in Test cricket. (Image Credits: bbc)

We go 26 years back in time to relive this classic from the willow of the Caribbean master. In April 1994, Lara etched his name in the record books by smashing a magical 375* against England in Antigua.

Lara walked in to bat with his side in trouble at 11/1. But, the master batsman took the opposition bowling attack by the scruff of the neck and carted them all over the ground.

In a riveting display that lasted 538 deliveries, Lara smashed 45 fours and helped his side to put up a gargantuan total of 593 runs on the board. His first boundary of the innings was typical Lara.

The ball was pitched on off stump, Lara brought his broad blade into play and flayed the cherry past cover for his first boundary. And, the master batsman put on a 179 run stand for the third wicket to bat England out of the game.

The West Indian maestro pulled left arm spinner Tuffnell to the mid wicket to bring up his 3rd Test hundred, and the crowd at the ground rose to applaud the young batting sensation.

After the hundred, there was no stopping the great man. He continued making merry by cutting, pulling, driving and flicking the England bowlers, and batted his side into a position of great strength. Lara brought up his double century with a flick past mid wicket.

The English side was wilting under the sorcery of the master, and Lara was in no mood to stop. A pull off Caddick that ricocheted off the advertising hoardings indicated the mastery that he had over the opposition bowling attack.

Lara brought up the first Triple century of his career with a couple to the third man. The great man punched the air in delight, and the crowd went delirious. Sir Garfield Sobers was in the stadium too, and witnessed the magic unfold in front of his eyes.

Lara continued to toy with the bowling. A back-foot punch through the off side left the cover fielder gaping at the mastery from the willow of Lara.

History was rewritten when Lara pulled Fraser behind square to go past the legendary Sobers as Test cricket’s highest run scorer.

Lara eventually finished with 375*, and that was a world record that stood for almost 9 years, until Matthew Hayden broke the record in 2003.

#2.153 Vs Australia (1999)

3 greatest knocks by Brian Lara in Test cricket
153 vs Australia in 1999 was another of 3 greatest knocks by Brian Lara in Test cricket (Image Credits: cricket.com.au)

Cricket is supposed to be a team game, but on the 30th of March 1999, Lara deluded us into believing that an individual’s splendor with the willow can help his side cross the finish line.

The venue for this classic was Barbados. The Australians had set the West Indies a stiff target of 308 runs to win, and everything hinged on how Lara fared with the willow.

The likes of Glen McGrath, Shane Warne and Jason Gillespie had their tails up, and Lara walked in with the Windies in trouble at 78/3.The batting maestro scored his first boundary with a drive past backward point off the bowling of the irritatingly accurate Glenn McGrath.

The bowler bowled another out swinger the next delivery, Lara lunged onto the front foot and dispatched McGrath for another boundary.

Wickets continued to tumble at the other end, but Lara marched on. The spin wizard Shane Warne bowled a short delivery; Lara rocked onto the back foot and smashed Warne over mid wicket for a gargantuan six that landed onto the roof.

Off the next ball, Lara guided the ball past the third man for a boundary. The West Indians were closing in on an improbable victory, and Lara was leading the charge.

Lara was hit on the helmet by a searing bouncer from McGrath. The two men exchanged words, and Lara was not willing to back down. Off the next delivery, he pulled the bowler in front of square for a cracking boundary, and brought up the 100 run stand between him and Jimmy Adams.

Lara brought up his hundred in style with by dancing down the track and hoisting Shane Warne over his head for a boundary. The batting maestro looked up at the heavens.

The Windies were cruising now, and the target was less than 80 runs away. But then, in a twist of fortunes, Australia came back into the match, picking up 3 quick wickets and the West Indies slid to 248/8.

But Lara was still taking the fight to the relentless Aussies. Glenn McGrath was pulled, and Warne was swept as Lara’s sorcery with the willow continued to light up the arena.

The Aussies picked up the ninth wicket with the score reading 302. Australia was one wicket away, and West Indies were just 6 runs away. It was glorious action that only Test match cricket could provide.

Lara scored the winning runs off Jason Gillespie, and crowd in the stadium went delirious. Lara had played one of the greatest knocks ever in Test match cricket and had single handedly dismantled the best bowling attack in the world.

#1. 400* vs England

3 greatest knocks by Brian Lara in Test cricket
Lara kisses the pitch after scoring 400- the finest of 3 greatest knocks by Brian Lara in Test cricke (Image Credits: HT)

This was a knock that elevated Test cricket itself to a whole new dimension. On a sweltering April afternoon in the year 2004, Lara achieved a feat that puts him at a pedestal that will remain his for posterity. The ‘Prince of Trinidad’ scored Test cricket’s first and only quadruple century, and in the process dismantled the English bowling attack, pummeling their bowlers to all parts of the ground.

Lara had his slice of luck early on. A close LBW shout was turned down, and the ball missed the edge of his willow by a whisker. On both occasions, the unlucky bowler was Steve Harmison. Perhaps, Lara was destined for great things on this day.

His first boundary though, proved that it was a master at work. To a delivery that was a tad on the shorter side, the West Indian Genius rocked onto the back foot and thumped the cherry past point for a boundary.

If he was showing that he could wade through the off side, Lara also showed that he was equally strong on the other side of the wicket as well.

Lara swiveled on the back foot and pulled Simon Jones with panache in front of square for a boundary to bring up his 44th Test fifty. After the 50 run mark, he showed no signs of slowing down.

A paddle sweep past fine leg off Barty was a testament to the fact that Lara had started playing with the field. A fierce square-cut past point gave the batting maestro his 25th Test century.

Lara continued to punish the bowlers and carried on. A pull off Hoggard was followed by a flick off Simon Jones. Lara was toying with the bowling on a belter of a surface, and the England bowlers were running out of answers.

The West Indian skipper brought up his 7th double hundred with a flick to mid-wicket. The crowd was on it feet to salute their batting hero, and Lara was not done yet.

He danced down the track with elegance and poise and deposited off spinner Barty into the crowd for six. He then gave himself room and smashed Barty over cover for a boundary. It was a master at the peak of his powers.

When he was batting on 293, Barty put down a difficult return catch. The ball was smashed back by Lara, the bowler got his finger tips to it, but couldn’t latch on to the offering. Could Lara achieve something spectacular?

The maestro reached the second triple hundred of his career with a single to point. He punched the air in delight, and even the England cricketers were applauding the marathon knock from the willow of the batting wizard.

He continued flaying the bowlers even after crossing the triple century mark. He cut Barty fiercely past point for a boundary, and was inching closer to a mind boggling quadruple century. Lara brought up his 350 with a couple to deep mid wicket.

Lara’s Genius was again evident after he crossed the 350 run mark. A hopping cover drives through the off side was followed by a six over Long On. The tired English bowlers were wilting under the Lara onslaught. Lara broke Hayden’s world record with a paddle to deep fine leg for a boundary.

And then, off the 582nd delivery that he faced, Lara moved into uncharted territory. He gently tapped Barty through the leg side for a single to complete Test cricket’s first quadruple century. “Perhaps the most significant single in the history of Test cricket.”, screamed an exuberant Tony Cozier in the commentary box.

More than 16 years have passed since that day. No mortal man has breached Lara’s record, and in all probability, no man ever will.

Here’s wishing the West Indian batting maestro a very happy 51st birthday.

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