Runs and records – the majestic career of Brian Lara

Only one batsman has scored 400 runs in a single Test innings. Only one batsman has scored 500 runs in a single first-class innings. And both these mega feats belong to one man – Brian Charles Lara. Born on 2nd May 1969 in Trinidad, this dynamic left-hand batsman had a great hunger of accumulating runs. By the time he retired, he had 11,953 Test runs and 10,405 ODI runs in his account with 53 international centuries. He still remains the highest run-getter for West Indies in Test cricket.

A glorious beginning

Lara made his first impact in school cricket where at the age of 14, he amassed 745 runs at 126.16. He continued his prolific run-making in the youth championship and soon translated it in the first-class cricket as well. Lara then took his first steps in international cricket in the tour to Pakistan in 1990. After three fifties in three Tests, he scored a monumental 277 at the Sydney Cricket Ground against Australia in his Fifth Test (January 1993). In just 15 more months, Lara clinched the world record of the highest individual score in Test cricket with 375 against England at Antigua.

Magnum opus

In 1994, Lara smashed 501 not out in 427 balls for Warwickshire against Durham – the highest individual score in first-class cricket. The very next year, he struck three consecutive Tets centuries against England in England. The West Indian captain faced a few ups and downs and when the Test series against Australia began in 1999, he was under a threat of being sacked.

Down 0-1 in the four-match series, West Indies were in grave trouble at 34/4. Lara scored a brilliant 213 to equalise the series. At Kensington Oval, the Trinidadian scripted an epic 153 not out which remains a forever candidate for the greatest Test innings ever played. He followed it up with another Test century in the next match.

Reclaiming glory

In October 2003, Australia’s Matthew Hayden snatched the record of the highest individual score in Test cricket with his knock of 380 in Perth. It remained at the top for only six months as Lara played a marathon innings of 400 not out against England at Antigua. In the same year, he completed 10,000 Test runs. In 2006, Lara became only the second batsman after Sachin Tendulkar to complete 10,000 runs in both Test and ODIs.

Lara announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket in 2007. The World Cup encounter between West Indies and England proved to be his final game. He was run out for 18 in final innings but nevertheless went off the field with tremendous respect and love.

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