West Indies v England, 3rd Test, Bridgetown May 2, 2015

Lara's finest hour, and Hanif's many hours

Matthew Varghese
Following Alastair Cook's century at the Kensington Oval, the 100th at the ground, we take a look back at some of the significant hundreds here over the years

A Kensington Oval classic - Brian Lara's unbeaten 153 © Getty Images

The longest innings

West Indies v Pakistan, 1958
Nine hundred and seventy minutes. That's how long Hanif Mohammad batted at the Kensington, from the third afternoon to tea on the final day - it was a six-day Test. Pakistan were shot out for 106 after West Indies put on 579 for 9 declared, with Conrad Hunte scoring a debut-Test hundred, and Everton Weekes becoming the first batsman to be dismissed twice in the 190s. Following on with a deficit of 473 in their first-ever Test in the West Indies, Pakistan were staring at a heavy defeat. But Hanif stood in the hosts' way. On the final day, the ground was abuzz with excitement, as Hanif neared the then world record of 364, set by Len Hutton. He didn't get there, but his 337 is still the only triple to be scored following on.

A double at No. 7

West Indies v Australia, 1955
If you have scored 668 in the first innings, and dismissed Garry Sobers, Clyde Walcott, Everton Weekes and Frank Worrell cheaply, you'd expect a gargantuan lead. Instead, Australia came up against West Indies captain Denis Atkinson and wicketkeeper Clairmonte Depeiaza, who put on 348 for the seventh wicket. It is a record that stays to this day, and came after the pair began from the depths of 146 for 6. Atkinson became only the second batsman after Don Bradman to score a double-century batting at No. 7. Australia did take a lead, but they couldn't force a victory.

Rowe's triple

West Indies v England, 1974
Lawrence Rowe's 302 still remains the highest West Indian score at the Kensington Oval. After Tony Greig's 148 took England to 395, Rowe combined with Alvin Kallicharran, who made 119, to help the West Indies declare with a 201-run lead. Rowe's 302 came off 430 balls, with 36 fours and one six. The Wisden Almanack describes his innings thus: "On this sort of pitch there was languid ferocity about him that owed everything to his timing and his perfect balance. His cutting, driving and hooking were fearsome, yet there was always more poetry than brutality about his play." Keith Fletcher's hundred enabled England save what seemed to be a match that they would lose, and the visiting side went on to square the series in the final Test.

Greenidge turns the tables

West Indies v Australia, 1991
Australia were in with a chance of securing their first win in Barbados - and their first in Tests in the Caribbean in 13 years - when they dismissed the hosts for 149 on the opening day. The West Indies' pace attack fought back to ensure a 15-run lead. From there on, the contest become one-sided, with Greenidge becoming the oldest West Indian to score a double-century, a record that still stands - his 19th and final hundred in his last Test series. His 226 included 32 fours, and is the second-best score by a West Indian against Australia. In the same innings, Richie Richardson became only the second batsman to be dismissed twice on 99.

Lara conquers Australia

West Indies v Australia, 1999
One of the most pulsating Tests of all time, it required another masterclass from Brian Lara - he had made a match-winning double in the previous game in Jamaica - to see West Indies home against a formidable Australian side. Steve Waugh, opting to bat, led from the front with his 199 after a shaky start as Australia put 490 on the board, with Ricky Ponting being the other centurion. The Australian attack comprising McGrath, Gillespie, Warne and MacGill reduced West Indies to 98 for 6, but 105 from opener Sherwin Campbell and Ridley Jacobs' 68 kept the deficit down to 161. Courtney Walsh's five-for set up the contest, with West Indies requiring 308 to win. Having lost half their side for 105, Lara partnered with Jimmy Adams for a 133-run stand. Hope seemed lost for the hosts when the eighth wicket fell with the score at 248, but Curtly Ambrose managed to defy the Australians even as Lara took them closer to victory. Ambrose fell with West Indies six runs short of the target, and Walsh had to block out a McGrath over before Lara could deliver the home crowds from their tense anticipation with a cover drive off Gillespie, sealing one of the great Test wins.

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