Brian Lara's latest batting masterclass yielded his 22nd Test century on the second day of the second Test here yesterday and elevated him above Viv Richards as the West Indies' leading scorer in Tests.
The 34-year-old left-hander's chanceless 191, compiled from just 203 balls, was also his 50th first-class hundred. It carried his Test aggregate to 8,625 runs in his 98th Test, surpassing Richards who gathered his 8,560 in 121 Tests.
"It means a lot to be up in the 8,000s with Sir Viv and Sir Garry Sobers [third highest with 8,032 in 93 Tests]," Lara said afterwards. "It's mind boggling." He was especially pleased to have "stayed so long in the game and maintained a good average as well". In a turbulent career, he has twice come close to retiring.
Resuming on 77 with the West Indies 282 for 3, Lara underpinned a total of 481 with strokeplay characterised by his uncanny placement that added 11 fours to the previous day's 12.
He spared no bowler but was especially severe on the left-arm spinner Ray Price - who paid the price of 199 runs for his five wickets - hoisting him straight for all his four sixes and never letting him settle.
The fast bowlers Fidel Edwards and Merv Dillon strengthened the West Indies' position by taking the first three Zimbabwe wickets for 31. But their advance was halted by an unbroken stand of 142 between Mark Vermeulen, who made 60 not out, and Craig Wishart, unbeaten on 86, that carried the home team to 173 for 3 at the close.
Price was Zimbabwe's best bowler again, wheeling away for 43 of his team's 107 overs, taking at least half the opposition's wickets in an innings for the third Test in a row.
Lara was within sight of his sixth score in excess of 200 when he steered the second ball after lunch from the fast bowler Andy Blignaut low to slip. In the field, Lara's captaincy was as bizarre as his batting was sublime. He took off the medium-paced opening bowler Wavell Hinds after one over and rung 21 bowling changes in 59 overs.Reuse content