Cricket / County Championship: Lara's lightning eighth hundred

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The Independent Online
Warwickshire 448-9 v Northamptonshire

BRIAN LARA was back at his best with 197 for Warwickshire against Northamptonshire at Northampton yesterday. The West Indian batsman smashed three sixes and 30 fours in a devastating 193-ball display, which brought him his seventh County Championship century of the season and his eighth hundred in 11 first- class innings to equal Don Bradman's world record set in the 1938-39 season.

But Lara managed only 12 runs off 45 deliveries from Curtly Ambrose, and was full of praise for his West Indian team-mate. 'I had a great day - but so did Curtly. He bowled very well and gave me nothing at all to hit,' Lara said.

Lara added 168 in 31 overs with Trevor Penney, who scored 39, and the visitors' totalled a formidable 448 for 9 after winning the toss. Lara survived a first-ball appeal for leg before by Tony Penberthy, and came close to giving Ambrose a return catch when he miscued a pull on 19. But his only tangible chance came on 170 when he edged a frustrated Ambrose to Kevin Curran at first slip, but the fielder failed to hold on.

In the next over, Ambrose hit Lara on the back of the head with a bouncer, splitting his helmet. 'It stunned me and I have a bit of a headache but there was no question of me coming off,' Lara said.

His innings eventually came to an end after four dazzling hours when he pulled Paul Taylor to long leg where Mal Loye took a stunning catch above his head.

Two centuries by Middlesex at Lord's condemned Durham to a long, hard day. Mike Roseberry hit 152 - that made it 406 runs from three innings against the county of his birth - and Mark Ramprakash followed with an unbeaten 132 as they shared a stand of 179.