Brian Lara plundered 28 runs off the penultimate over from the left-arm spinner Robin Peterson to set a Test record and place an emphatic exclamation mark to a day on which his 23rd Test hundred kept alive the West Indies' hopes of salvation in the first Test here.
Lara cut Peterson for 4, hoisted him overhead for 6, 6, 4 and 4 and ended the over with another cut to the boundary, passing the 27 New Zealand's Craig McMillan hit off Pakistan's Younis Khan in Hamilton in March 2001. The sudden fusillade carried him to 178 out of the West Indies' 363 for six in reply to South Africa's 561, achieving the first objective of avoiding the follow-on.
On his way to his first hundred in 12 Tests against South Africa and his fifth in nine Tests since he was reinstated as captain in March, Lara received sound support from the opener Daren Ganga and from Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Ganga added only 11 in the first two hours before falling for 60 right after lunch. Chanderpaul's contribution in the fourth-wicket partnership of 125 was 34. As usual, Lara was the his team's standard bearer, stroking 28 fours in addition to the late sixes off Peterson in six-and-a-quarter hours batting.
It was not always easy for Lara. He had to withstand an intense examination from Makhaya Ntini, South Africa's best bowler with three for 72, and Andre Nel. The key moment came when Lara, on 15, was missed by Shaun Pollock on a simple, lap-high catch at first slip off Ntini. After that, Lara said he felt "comfortable". He certainly looked it.
South Africa won toss
SOUTH AFRICA - First Innings 561 (J H Kallis 158, *G C Smith 132).
WEST INDIES - First Innings (Overnight: 87 for 1)
D Ganga c Peterson b Ntini 60
R R Sarwan c Boucher b Pollock 21
B C Lara not out 178
S Chanderpaul b Ntini 34
R D Jacobs c Boucher b Ntini 4
V C Drakes lbw b Kallis 21
M Dillon not out 6
Extras b12 lb10 w2 nb5 pens 0 29
Total 6 wkts (121 overs) 363
Fall: 1-43 2-94 3-141 4-266 5-278 6-314
To Bat: C H Gayle, C D Collymore, F H Edwards.
Bowling: Pollock 30-7-65-1; Ntini 26-7-72-3; Nel 26-9-58-1; Kallis 22-6-53-1; Peterson 13-2-76-0; Smith 4-0-17-0.
Umpires: D B Hair and S J A Taufel.
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