Lara smashes second fastest ODI hundred
The weekend crowd at Bangabandhu National Stadium here Saturday witnessed a magical innings of Brian Lara making the second quickest one-day century.
Lara's ton against hosts Bangladesh came from only 45 balls to enthrall the spectators who gave a standing ovation to the "Prince" who waived his hands and the golden willow in reply.
Stepping into the 6,000 runs club scoring 17 earlier in his silvery and whirlwind innings, Lara sent the ball thrice over the rope and hit 18 fours to reach his 13th century.
His colourful ton in the lively afternoon came from a boundary off Bangladesh vice captain Khaled Mahmud Sujon giving 22 runs in that over, being slaughtered by the West Indian.
Captain Aminul Islam, frustrated with the non-stop tornado, brought occasional right arm off-spinner Habibul Bashar Sumon in the attack in the 20th over. Sumon put an end to Lara's glittering innings in the fourth ball of his very first over.
Lara, before being clean bowled for 117 off 62 balls, shared 98 runs with Sherwin Campbell in the opening stand, 63 runs with Ricardo Powell and 24 runs with Wavel Hinds.
The world record holder batsman walked to the dressing room raising his bat amidst claps, cheers and thunderous applause from the crowd for whom it was the best innings ever at the big bowl.
In between the century and the last ball for him, Lara hit one more boundary. He hit three sixes and 19 fours to end a magnificent innings that is beyond description. He remained 94 minutes at the crease to take the West Indian score to massive 314 runs.
With his swashbuckling ton, Brian Lara now holds the record of the second quickest ODI century after Shahid Afridi of Pakistan who hammered the fastest one in Nairobi in 1996 against Sri Lanka from only 37 balls.
Afridi removed the name of another sensation Sanath Jayasuriya of Sri Lanka who had made the record of fastest ton from 48 ball in Singapore in between the Nairobi tournament and 1996 World Cup, where he emerged as the most attacking batsman.
The Calypso captain, Lara, is now also the fourth West Indian member of the 6,000 runs club in one-day cricket. Three others are Desmond Haynes, Sir Vivian Richards and Richie Richardson.
Lara began the innings Saturday with 5,983 runs and reached the milestone of 6,000 ODI runs with a boundary off Bangladesh new ball bowler Manjurul Islam in the third over.
But the West Indian run machine could have been sent back had Al Shahriar Rokon standing in the first slip would have caught him on the very first ball of the second over of the innings. The unlucky bowler was Shafiuddin Ahmed.
And after getting the life, Lara taught novice Bangladesh what should be the compensation of missing a catch from a player of his stature, who holds the record of highest score in both Test and first class cricket.
He made the highest 375 runs in Test cricket in 1994 against England and the highest first class score of 501 only days after in the County Championship. His career best ODI score is 169.
In the current two-match ODI-series in Dhaka, it was the fourth time in his 158 one-day match career that Lara resumed as opener for West Indies who had been in crisis for openers after the departure of legendary Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes.
The West Indian captain failed as an opener in the first match Friday as he scored only 2 runs before caught in the very first ball of the second over of the innings. In his second appearance as opener Saturday, he compensated his fans as well as redeemed his glorious name.
Lara had started as a middle-order batsman, but came to the limelight as an opener in 1992 World Cup hammering a melodious 88 runs against Pakistan. For next two years, he was the West Indian opener.
As the Caribbeans had been facing a vulnerable batting line up, Lara had to lower his order. And in Dhaka on Friday, he again came to open the innings after a break of 90 matches.
Before coming to Dhaka, Lara's career was showing 5,981 runs from 153 innings in 156 matches with 12 centuries and average of 43.44. Playing two matches here, he holds 13 centuries and is a member of the 6,000-runs club in ODI cricket.