'It's going to damage my leg, but this is Test cricket'

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The Independent Online

Brian Lara was only 75 per-cent fit for the third Test, but it was England who felt the discomfort of another century special yesterday.

Brian Lara was only 75 per-cent fit for the third Test, but it was England who felt the discomfort of another century special yesterday.

"I haven't been playing for a couple of weeks because of injury and I don't think I'm in any great form at the moment, but it's a nice time to score runs," said the Trinidadian left-hander after scoring 112 - his sixth hundred against England.

"I've always been very committed to West Indies' cricket and played to the best of my ability. The time off when I didn't play much helped me in many ways, especially on the family front. There is also a renewed enthusiasm."

"The pitch has not got much life in it, but you've still got to be pretty careful. I'm not at full fitness. I think I went into the game feeling 75 per cent, but it's a Test match and as long as I can walk I like to be out there, playing.

"It's going do some damage to my leg, perhaps set me back a few days, but this is Test cricket.

"I wasn't really concerned about what's necessary for myself, it was going out there and making a contribution for the team. It was important score runs, because we weren't out of the woods.

"From the time we took the field on third day, we've bowled well and batted well since then. I'd like to come back tomorrow and finish it off, I know it is going to be difficult. Hopefully, Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose and the other young, fast bowlers can get among the English batsmen.

"I went into the nets at lunchtime because I wanted to keep my rhythm going. I got into groove and I didn't want to spend 30 minutes in the dressing room waiting to get out there again, especially as the new ball was due in a couple of overs, I wanted to keep things going.

"I was batting pretty well but the most important period was that second new ball. I picked things up in my innings with the ball pretty old and I was able to build a foundation.

"It's going to be tough. We've shown great character over the last two days and this is England's opportunity to do so. It's necessary that we try to go 2-1 here. It's difficult for any team to hit back with two Test matches left."

The England fast bowler Dominic Cork said: "We tried a lot of options. I thought we were a little bit unlucky. We made them play and miss a few times, but the wicket all-in-all is a good Test pitch.

"Lara's an exceptional player and works hard. He got a hundred at Old Trafford last time and seems to enjoy this ground.

"Sometimes he's a very difficult batsman to bowl against, he played and missed a few times, but you still see the Lara flair when he hits boundaries.

"We are going out there to try to get them out as quickly as possible. The ball is in neither court at the moment - it's whoever can take the first initiative. The first hour will be important for both sides. They have two great fast bowlers who can make a difference on a lot of Test pitches."

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