November 15, 2000

Lara admits Windies' win counts for little


ALICE SPRINGS, NT - Brian Lara admitted the West Indies' encouraging performance here would count for little towards the tourists' hopes of beating Australia in next week's first Test.

Lara hit a smooth 106 yesterday as the West Indies cruised to a 57-run win over a Northern Territory Invitation XI, but the star left-hander said the Caribbean men still had plenty of work ahead before they met the record-breaking Australians on Thursday week.

The win here was the Windies' first on tour after they opened with a disappointing seven-wicket loss to Western Australia at the WACA Ground.

"We've got 25 days of hard cricket against Australia coming up and a one-day match in Alice Springs is not going to be enough," Lara said.

"We've got to perform much better.

"I thought we played pretty well in the last two days at the WACA even though we didn't win the match but the team is improving and hopefully that will continue in Melbourne over the next few days before the Test match."

The squad heads to Melbourne today for a four-day clash with Victoria, starting Friday, which marks their final preparation for the Brisbane Test.

Lara and veteran Courtney Walsh will play their first four-day matches on tour at the MCG after both were rested from the Western Australian loss.

Lara has two centuries from two festival matches but the 31-year-old is confident he will be ready for the Test series despite a lingering hamstring niggle.

He looked tentative running between wickets yesterday during his 113-ball knock which featured four sixes - three coming off Test bowler Colin Miller.

Walsh made his first appearance on tour yesterday, conceding just four runs from six overs with the new ball in a typically flawless opening.

The presence of the world record holder will boost the Windies, who have arrived with a disastrous away record.

"The guys are very buoyant and everyone is looking forward to the four-day game," Lara said.

"We've had a long trip out to Australia and we've only had one four-day game so everyone wants to play this one.

"It's not going to be easy playing against Australia but we pulled Test back in the West Indies two years ago and if we play good cricket we can give them a fight."