Lara back for date with India

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The Independent Online

Brian Lara, the West Indies captain, is confident that he will have recovered full fitness in time for his side's meeting with India in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

Lara suffered back spasms during his spectacular innings of 71 against Australia in Bombay on Wed-nesday which, along with Runak Morton's unbeaten 90, laid the foundations for West Indies' famous victory. Lara said yesterday that the eight-day break between games had given both he and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who went down with food poisoning, time to recover. Corey Collymore will also return after the birth of his first child.

Lara is leading a team who had to prequalify for the event but who have now had a massive confidence boost from the victory over the Australians.

The highlight was the first-ever hat-trick in a one-day international by a West Indian bowler, taken by Jerome Taylor. "It was excellent of him to get the first hat-trick," Lara said. "We all have faith in Jerome, he is one of the bright sparks in the team and he definitely has a huge future. I thought a Walsh or someone else might have had it before, but it was great."

Lara said that despite the efforts of Morton and Taylor, the win was really a team effort, and showed his side are heading in the right direction. "In terms of studying the opposition, again we did a lot of work behind the scenes with contributions from everyone, and to see it come to fruition was definitely promising," he said.

Meanwhile, New Zea-land's Stephen Fleming will break Arjuna Ranatunga's captaincy record for most one-day internationals when he leads his team for the 194th time against Pakistan in Mohali on Wednesday. "I'm enjoying it more than ever," he said.