Sarwan takes mantle from Lara

Published: Monday, March 2, 2009, 12:49 [IST]
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Sarwan takes Lara's mantle

Bangalore: If Brian Lara was their tormentor in the past, there is no doubt that Ramnaresh Sarwan has taken his mantle.

Sarwan struck a magnificent 291 to end England's hopes of completing a comeback Test series victory in the Caribbean - and open up the chance of them losing it tomorrow.

Sarwan's vigil at Kensington Oval, which lasted 11 hours and 40 minutes, was the cornerstone of West Indies' 749 for nine, the second largest total England have conceded in Test history.

Sarwan surpassed his previous best of 261 not out against Bangladesh five years ago shortly before tea and his latest masterclass was terminated when Ryan Sidebottom produced a late inswinger to cartwheel off-stump in the sixth over with the third new ball.

Indeed, it's most appropriate that Sarwan's finest Test innings has come at the same ground where he announced himself to the world with a debut knock of such quality nine years ago that no less a personality than Sir Vivian Richards hailed the arrival of a truly special batsman.

Sarwan's five hundreds and five other scores over 50 in his last nine Tests in the Caribbean have produced an average almost twice his overall under-achieving figure of 43.02. It should not be bypassed that he contributed just 20 runs in three innings in New Zealand and therefore needs to show that he is more than a flat-track hometown bully. Still, his consistency, concentration and burgeoning appetite for big runs in this series suggest a significant change in a fundamental aspect of his game.

It's hard to believe that the man who walked off the ground just before tea with 291 runs to his name in one innings (598 at 149.50 in the series so far) was dropped by then captain Brian Lara for the second Test in Pakistan at the end of 2006, ostensibly for selling his wicket too cheaply in the previous match.


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