Brian Lara hits Mach 4(00)

Written by: Sunil Vasudeva
Published: Tuesday, April 13, 2004, 13:54 [IST]
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That man Brian Lara is at it again. The first to break Gary Sobers' 365 not out with 375, and then see Matthew Hayden topple him with 380. However, Lara has had the last laugh in this case, by reaching Mach-4. 400 not out to be exact.

The 400, however, came a bit too late as the Windies are already 3-0 down in the four Test series. However, an achievement is an achievement. Thankfully, he was the captain, but I don't think it would've made a difference. Anyone on the field that day would have gracefully bowed to the "Emperor". Now, Lara stands alone on an Everest - like pedestal in both Test and first class cricket for highest batting scores of 400 not out and 501 not out respectively.

If Sir Don was alive, he would've definitely welcomed Lara to the victory podium where hitherto he stood alone. However, the great Don never made it to 400. But there was that one occasion when he was 299 not out, but alas ran out of partners! Poor England! For them, lightning struck twice at the same ground, St. John's in Antigua. First 375, now 400 not out, both from the same source, Brian Lara.

I for one cannot see any of his contemporaries even scratching the surface as far as those two records are concerned (400 not out and 501 not out). Maybe they can take a leaf or two out of his batting pages and can only but reflect if they could be there. In a way it is good that Sehwag did not break Hayden's record for then it would have lasted only few days! That would hardly have been a just reward for the much improved Sehwag.

At this pace, Lara may even be the quickest to reach 10,000 runs in terms of innings played. He already is the quickest to 9000 edging Tendulkar to that finish line. Now if only the West Indies could get bowlers that could give others gory reminders of the fearful quartet - Roberts, Holding, Garner, and Croft. Even another Malcolm Marshall would suffice at this time.

Congratulations, Brian! You've provided the silver lining for your squad in the current series. You, however, deserve the gold crown for batting. Now, the top four batting scores in Test cricket all belong to left-handers. 400 not out - Lara, 380 - Hayden, 375 - Lara, and 365 not out - Sobers. These southpaws always had their bats pointed to the magnetic north of high scores.

The English players, however, need not feel bad. They have already won the four Test series with a 3-0 current lead and definitely a good jump up the ICC Test Rankings and yet another series victory abroad. Hopefully, another team I can think of right now won't have to extend their wait to do the same. All the best!

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