One more added to a bag of records
With a superb double-century Brian Lara went past Allan Border's record aggregate of 11,174 Test runs. Cricinfo takes a look at some of the highlights of a charismatic career
Debut v Pakistan at Lahore, 1990
The series was tied at 1-1 going into the final Test at Lahore. Given a choice, no batsman would want to face Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Abdul Qadir and Waqar Younis in their first Test. But after Imran reduced West Indies to 24 for 2, Brian Lara had his baptism by fire and did quite well for himself. He put on 95 runs with Carl Hooper for the fourth wicket before falling on 44 to Qadir. West Indies took a first innings lead and Lara made 5 in the second innings as the match headed for a draw.
Sizzler at Sydney v Australia at Sydney, 1993
After missing out on a home series against Australia and a tour of England, Lara had scored fifties in each of the three Tests preceding Sydney. Australia, leading 1-0 in the series, had amassed 503 in the first innings and West Indies were 31 for 2 when Lara joined Richie Richardson. What followed was an epic - Lara rates it as his best knock - and he sent Australia on a leather hunt as he romped to 277, giving West Indies the lead. Lara was named Man of the Match for the fourth-highest maiden century as the game meandered to a draw.
Going past Sobers v England in Antigua, 1994
"The only problem with genius is living up to the billing. But Lara looks to have durability and I'm sure we'll be hearing plenty more about him," said Ted Dexter after the carnage. Sir Garry Sobers' record of 365 had stood for 36 years before Lara took to England at Antigua. Once again, the openers had fallen early before Lara began his marathon and scored 375 of West Indies' 593. The match was held up because of a crowd invasion during which Sobers came out to congratulate Lara. "I'm only 24, and I must try my best to keep going and to improve," Lara said. "I will be aiming to beat my record, and I think I can do it one day."
Birmingham blitz v Warwickshire v Durham, 1994
Less than two months had passed since Lara had surpassed Sobers' 365 and Durham would have been pleased with 556 in the first innings against Warwickshire. That was until Lara picked up from where he had left off at Antigua. It took 427 balls, 62 fours and ten sixes to smash 501 and break Hanif Mohammad's 499 for the highest first-class score.
Captaincy beckons v India in Barbados, 1997
India had managed to sneak a first innings lead on a pitch that was steadily becoming a minefield. Lara, in his first match as captain, made an invaluable 45 as West Indies were dismissed for 140. Chasing 120 on a pitch with uneven bounce, India collapsed for 80 with only VVS Laxman reaching double figures.
His brilliant best v Australia, Barbados, 1998-99
Against Steve Waugh's all-conquering side, few gave West Indies a chance. Lara, who went into the series with his captaincy under pressure, smacked 213 in the second Test and 100 in the fourth to give them a 2-2 draw. His most remarkable knock came in between at Bridgetown. Set 308 to win on a pitch which held few favours, West Indies slumped to 105 for 5. But Lara brilliantly marshalled the tail, adding 53 for the ninth wicket with Curtley Ambrose and nine vital runs for the last wicket with Courtney Walsh. Lara finished unbeaten on 153, an innings rated by Wisden.com in 2000 as the second-best in Test history.
West Indies often lost in spite of Lara's heroics with the bat and to put an emphatic stamp on that he even has a world record for it. Against Sri Lanka, Lara totalled 351 runs (221 and 130) but Sri Lanka still won by ten wickets. Lara beat Andy Flower's 341 for most runs in a losing cause.
Overtaking Viv v Zimbabwe at Bulawayo, 2003
Lara hammered 191 off just 203 balls, his first century against Zimbabwe, to become the highest run-scorer for West Indies, breaking Vivian Richards' record of 8540. West Indies won the match by 128 runs to take the series 1-0.
4,6,6,4,4,4 v South Africa at the Wanderers, 2003
West Indies were trailing by 228 runs in the first innings when Lara smashed 4,6,6,4,4,4, off Robin Peterson to break the world record for the most runs in an over. Lara went on to reach 202 but a second-innings collapse resulted in a 189-run South African victory.
First to 400 v England in Antigua, 2004
Six months earlier, Matthew Hayden had bullied Zimbabwe during his 380 that claimed the world record from Lara. Not to be outdone, Lara not only reclaimed his status but went a step further to become the first man to reach 400. England suffered again as West Indies piled up a mammoth 751 and Lara joined Don Bradman as the only batsmen to have passed 300 twice.
10,000 runs v England at Old Trafford, 2004
Going into the third Test at Old Trafford, Lara had 9993 Test runs. Andrew Flintoff castled him for a duck in the first innings and had Lara caught again in the second but not before he had made exactly 7 to post 10,000 runs. England went on to win the match and the series 4-0.
The 27th century v South Africa in Trinidad, 2005
Another record fell as Lara went past Sobers' tally of 26 hundreds to become the greatest century-maker for West Indies. His 196 was the only resistance South Africa faced as they wrapped up West Indies for 347. Lara couldn't bail them out again in the second innings and South Africa coasted to an eight-wicket win.
Beyond 11,000 v Australia at Adelaide, 2005
Overcoming a recent run of low scores, Lara joined the 11,000-club and then broke Allan Border's world-record tally of 11,174 Test runs with a classic double-century in the third Test at Adelaide. Lara, with eight double-centuires, moved clear of Wally Hammond's seven. Only Bradman, with 12, has more.
George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo