West Indies 4 for 339 (Lara 156, Chanderpaul 85) beat Pakistan 9 for 281 by 58 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary


Brian Lara on his way to an explosive 156 © Getty Images
Brian Lara marked his 250th one-day international with a magical century that included a whirlwind 106 runs from his last 57 balls and kept West Indies' finals hopes alive. Lara was frightening as he launched West Indies to 339, and his bowlers delivered early on to register their first win of the VB Series by 58 runs against Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval.
Carrying a sore wrist that forced many one-handed follow-throughs for singles -and sixes - Lara's conclusion was breathtaking as he monstered Pakistan with an inspiring 156, which was the ground's highest score in an ODI. Lara was glowing by the 40th over, and his innings was the highlight of the series as he shuffled, stabilised himself with an 81-ball fifty, and then turned into a brute. He belted an amazing five sixes - four on the off side - and 12 fours as Pakistan virtually conceded by the end of the first innings.
The daunting target quickly proved too difficult and the sides' battle for the place alongside Australia in the best-of-three finals will not be decided until the last preliminary match at Perth on Tuesday. Mohammad Hafeez, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Youhana Youhana and Abdul Razzaq did their best to stay within striking range but could provide only cameos in a situation when half-centuries were the bare minimum.
Lara received fantastic support from Shivnarine Chanderpaul in a 187-run partnership that carefully revived West Indies and then catapulted them forward. Knowing that a loss would almost certainly end their series involvement, they began in a strangely sleepy mode, but when the clouds lifted and sunshine appeared the mood changed quickly and decisively.
Lara and Chanderpaul cautiously rebuilt on a start disrupted by two wickets and Ramnaresh Sarwan retiring hurt. At first they had to rely on donations from the Pakistan bowlers - by the halfway stage there were already 25 extras - to keep their rate above four an over. But once both had nudged half-centuries their shoulders relaxed and they were ready for demolition.
Chanderpaul announced himself with a four and a six in the 40th over to bring up the 150-run stand, and Lara joined in with two boundaries as they smashed 19 from Mohammad Hafeez. Reaching 2 for 115 off 25 overs, West Indies added 42 in the next ten before an explosion more spectacular than a back-to-school argument. Chanderpaul fell 15 runs short of a century, top-edging Shahid Afridi, but Lara kept accelerating and drove to most sections of the ground. His off-side play was magnificent and he crashed the short square boundaries and lashed a stunning six over point with only one hand on the handle. The 138-ball dizzy spell ended when he was bowled by Hafeez seeking more glory (4 for 327).


Reon King's double-strike put West Indies in control © Getty Images
The finish was almost unthinkable after the steady opening overs when the top-order batsmen were under pressure and showed their tentativeness. Ricardo Powell survived two close lbw appeals and Chris Gayle was bowled by Rao Iftikhar trying to drive to mid-on when a straighter bat was required (1 for 17).
West Indies suffered a further blow when Rana Naved-ul-Hasan hit Sarwan on his right elbow, forcing him to head for X-rays that showed bruising. Just as Powell, whose recall pushed Wavell Hinds down to No. 6, started to show his power he played across the ball and was trapped in front by Naved (2 for 56). Naved was the main culprit with sundries, leaking ten no-balls and three wides.
The extra damage did not help Pakistan's chase, which began badly with the loss of Salman Butt in the second over, and a tricky spell from Reon King helped his side gain tight control. King took his first international wicket since August 2002 when he extinguished the spark of Hafeez, who pushed to keep up with an uncomfortable chase with a run-a-ball 41, and Hinds bowled Kamran Akmal with the next delivery (3 for 65). Enjoying his one-day return, King waited three overs for his next breakthrough and deceived Shoaib Malik with an offcutter (4 for 87).
Inzamam-ul-Haq attempted to lead the pursuit, but almost nine runs were required every over when he departed and even having Razzaq, Afridi and Mahmood in hand was not helpful. Pakistan's first target was to reach 272 to avoid giving West Indies a bonus point, which they managed thanks to Azhar Mahmood's 40 not out. Any flicker of passing the next goal was definitely out of reach once Yousuf Youhana was run out in a terrible mix-up with Abdul Razzaq, who then chipped Dwayne Bravo to Lara (7 for 206). Pakistan have four days to plot their revenge, which will centre around shutting down the wonders of Lara.
Peter English is Australasian editor of Cricinfo.