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Brian Lara slams hundred to earn Windies a draw

Published: Thursday, June 15, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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St. Lucia:Brian Lara collected his 32nd Test hundred to earn West Indies a hard-fought draw in the rain-marred second Test against India at the Beausejour Cricket Ground.

The 37-year-old Lara hit 120 - only his second Test hundred against the Indians - as West Indies, following on 373 runs behind of first innings, finished on 294 for seven in their second innings to leave the four-Test series level at 0-0.

Lara reached his hundred when he square drove Irfan Pathan for the ninth of his 10 boundaries and drew level with former Australia captain Steve Waugh for the third highest number of Test hundreds.

India's Sachin Tendulkar, who was prevented from making this trip by injury, heads the list with 35 Test hundreds. Compatriot Sunil Gavaskar is second on the list with 34, and Lara and Waugh follow.

The West Indies captain battled away for a little over 6-1/2 hours and faced 307 balls to give West Indies their lifeline.

He added 129 for the fourth wicket with his predecessor Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who scored 54, and put on 71 for the fifth wicket with compatriot Dwayne Bravo, who made 47.

Anil Kumble was the most successful Indian bowler with three wickets for 98 runs from 42 overs, and Munaf Patel took two for 50 from 21 overs.

Virender Sehwag, who scored 180 in India's mammoth first innings total of 588 for eight declared and snared four wickets in the Test, won the Man-of-the-Match award.

West Indies continued from their bedtime total on the third day of 43 for one, after a complete washout of the entire fourth day, and suffered two setbacks in the first half-hour.

Kumble, who became Test cricket's fourth highest wicket-taker, completely bamboozled Daren Ganga with a googly and bowled him for 26 offering no stroke.

Sarwan, the West Indies vice captain, whose batting helped the home team clinch the preceding limited-overs series, again failed, when he was caught behind for one off a well-pitched out-swinger from Patel to leave West Indies 52 for three.

Lara and Chanderpaul showed level heads however, to defy the Indian attack for the rest of the morning, and carried West Indies to 130 for three at lunch.

Lara had inside-edged a drive at a flighted delivery outside the off-stump from Kumble for two to the fine leg region to bring up his 50.

After the interval, Lara and Chanderpaul, easily West Indies' two most experienced batsman, continued merrily along their way.

Chanderpaul swung Anil Kumble behind square for his sixth four to reach his 50, but trying to hit a full toss from the leg-spin bowler over mid-wicket he was caught at mid-on for 54. He struck half-dozen boundaries from 113 balls in just under three hours.

Lara continued to bat with grit and arrived at his landmark. He looked set for a much larger innings, when the umpire Asad Rauf dubiously adjudged him lbw to Sehwag to a ball that television replays clearly showed pitched outside off-stump and spun away.

His departure energised India, and bearing in mind West Indies' capitulation in their second innings of the first Test, the visitors moved in for the kill.

Bravo had shown great application for close 2-1/2 hours in which he struck three fours and one six from 124 balls before he was caught at short leg turning a ball from Kumble into the hands of the fielder.

West Indies were 277 for six, and 19 overs still remained, when Ian Bradshaw sauntered to the wicket.

He spent 40 minutes and 40 balls over one run before he was adjudged lbw to Patel in a final burst, but most importantly, he had exhausted enough time to save West Indies from blushes.

The first Test at the Antigua Recreation Ground ended in a tense draw, with the West Indies' last wicket pair of Edwards and Collymore surviving the last 19 balls of the match.

The series concludes with Tests at Basseterre (June 22-26), and Kingston (June 30-July 4).

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