Cape Town: Brian Lara hit a majestic century as West Indies recovered from a poor start to score 278 for 5 from 50 overs against South Africa in the opening match of the World Cup on Sunday. The star left-hander hit 116 off 134 balls in a magnificent innings, which earned him a standing ovation from a capacity Newlands crowd of 25,000, most of whom had come to cheer for the hosts.
Playing in his first international match in almost five months, Lara hit only his second World Cup century in 20 matches. His previous hundred was also against South Africa, 111 in Karachi in 1996 when West Indies won a quarter-final clash. It was an innings played under pressure. He came in when West Indies lost its first wicket after scoring only four runs in five overs. Another wicket fell three runs later and after 10 overs the West Indies only had 12 on the board.
Lara put on 102 for the third wicket with fellow left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul (34) and 89 for the fourth with skipper Carl Hooper (40). Ricardo Powell and Ramnaresh Sarwan hammered the bowling in the slog overs, with both hitting sixes in an over from South African captain Shaun Pollock, which cost 23 runs. West Indies scored 152 off the last 15 overs of the innings. Powell hit an unbeaten 40 off 18 balls and Sarwan 32 off 15.
The pair added 63 off 28 balls for the unbroken sixth wicket. Lara returned home with a mysterious illness after scoring 111 in his previous international innings against Kenya in the ICC Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka last September. It took him 78 balls to reach 50 on Sunday but he needed only 43 more to reach his 16th One-day century. His innings included 10 fours and two sixes.
| Copyright AFP 2001 |