August 6, 2000

Lara helps extend West Indies lead

Cornhill Insurance

A quiet morning's play saw West Indies add 80 runs to their total for the loss of two wickets. 'Quiet' is a word perhaps not often used of a session during which Brian Lara scored 49 runs, but only just before the interval did the great man appear to be finding his true form.

West Indies continued from their overnight score of 131 in the second innings, 15 runs behind England. A quiet opening half-hour ended with the dismissal of Wavell Hinds (25), driving rather loosely at Gough to be caught at the wicket, a genuine dismissal for the hitherto unlucky West Indian this time. West Indies were 145 for two, one run behind England, and Lara strode to the crease.

Adrian Griffith moved anonymously to his fifty, which took him just over four hours, but was then trapped lbw for 54, playing across the line to Darren Croft; 164 for three. Lara struggled for a long time to find his touch, but fought it out and the runs came, however unconvincingly. He then danced down the pitch to hit Croft for a superb straight six and from that point on began to play his strokes with greater freedom and timing. By lunch, in partnership with Jimmy Adams (7), he had taken the West Indian lead to 65 with seven wickets in hand, the match as finely balanced as ever. The score was 211 for three.