Lara hits top gear to give West Indies lift

West Indies 274-8 Kent 183 (West Indies win by 91 runs)

At 10.15am, 30 minutes before the scheduled start of play, everything appeared in place at the New County Ground in Beckenham. The Kent players were finishing off their preparations, the sun was out and the ground was virtually full. The only problem, and it was quite a major one in the context of the day, was that the star attractions, Brian Lara and West Indies, were missing.

At 10.15am, 30 minutes before the scheduled start of play, everything appeared in place at the New County Ground in Beckenham. The Kent players were finishing off their preparations, the sun was out and the ground was virtually full. The only problem, and it was quite a major one in the context of the day, was that the star attractions, Brian Lara and West Indies, were missing.

When a gateman phoned the pavilion at 10.30am to say that a group of West Indians had arrived, there was a sigh of relief. They turned out to be the steel band. Lara's side finally arrived at 11 o'clock after a two-and-a-quarter-hour coach journey from their Kensington hotel.

Kent accommodated their embarrassed opponents by allowing them to bat first, and a quick change ensured that only four overs were lost. But the chaotic start seemed to affect Chris Gayle, who was bowled having a heave at the second ball of the game. This was the last setback for West Indies in their penultimate warm-up game before the NatWest Series, and the London traffic proved more of an obstacle than Kent, who were comfortably beaten by 91 runs.

West Indies' imposing score of 274 in 48 overs was built around a partnership of 106 between Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan. After a delightful 23 from Dwayne Smith containing five glorious boundaries, the pair carefully guided the tourists to the 30th over.

Chanderpaul, whose driving down the ground stood out, was the first to reach his half-century. But his dismissal, well caught by Michael Carberry at deep square leg, changed the tempo of the West Indian innings.

With the applause of 7,000 spectators ringing in his ears Lara arrived at the crease and immediately began to entertain. After watching his first five balls carefully, the captain smashed the next through mid-on for four.

This started a period of play which more than made up for the West Indies' tardy time-keeping. Lara smashed his first ball from James Tredwell out of the ground for six and struck seven sumptuous fours in his 53 balls.

But the spinner ended Lara's 100-run stand with Sarwan when the latter sliced a catch to short third man. Lara followed in Tredwell's next over, and West Indies failed to capitalise on the work of the three senior batsmen. The England seamer Martin Saggers was the main beneficiary with figures of 5 for 51.

West Indies' pace attack bowled with plenty of hostility and made the most of an excellent pitch which offered plenty of pace and bounce for those who bent their backs. Only Ed Smith looked capable of handling this type of bowling but it took the former England batsman 31 overs to score his 54 runs.

Smith's patience finally gave way when he flashed at a ball from Smith to give Ridley Jacobs the fourth of his six victims. The only disappointment for Lara was that his bowlers conceded 25 wides and 13 no-balls. Against better opponents this lack of discipline will cost matches.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most