Lara's injury fails to derail West Indies

Pakistan 131 West Indies 132-3
(West Indies win by 7 wkts)

When the world's fastest bowler goes head to head with the game's leading batsman, in the semi-final of a major tournament, there is always the chance of something special taking place. But for a couple of minutes yesterday in Southampton one feared this one-sided encounter would be remembered for the wrong reasons.

When the world's fastest bowler goes head to head with the game's leading batsman, in the semi-final of a major tournament, there is always the chance of something special taking place. But for a couple of minutes yesterday in Southampton one feared this one-sided encounter would be remembered for the wrong reasons.

The West Indies, chasing Pakistan's paltry total of 131, had reached 76 for 2 when Shoaib Akhtar decided to bowl Brian Lara a bouncer. The 95mph thunderbolt was well aimed and struck the left-hander on the head. Lara collapsed at the crease and lay on his back.

The Rawalpindi Express had jokingly told Lara he was going to kill him when he arrived at the crease. "I asked Brian what Shoaib had said to him," said Ramnaresh Sarwan, the non-striker. "He [Lara] said something about 'he was going to kill me', or something like that. But I wasn't sure what he said. I thought he was joking around."

After receiving treatment, a dazed Lara rose to his feet. The ball had hit him on the fleshy part of his neck, rather than on the jaw, which would have been more serious. He shaped to carry on, but after talking to Sarwan he chose to leave the field. His side went on to record a comfortable seven-wicket victory.

The West Indies captain will play against England in Saturday's ICC Champions' Trophy final at The Oval but he is sure to be feeling the after-effects.

The incident upset Shoaib. "Brian is my favourite batsman," he said. "I am sorry I have hit him, but it was honest bowling."

Shoaib made his Test debut against Lara in November 1997 and this was only the third time he has bowled at him. In a tight game Lara would probably have continued batting.

Inzamam-ul-Haq surprised everyone when he became only the second captain in this tournament to elect to bat after winning the toss. Yet on another cold, damp morning it looked a wise decision as Pakistan reached 100 for the loss of three wickets.

Then disaster struck. Yousuf Youhana edged a good ball from the effervescent Dwayne Bravo. The exciting all-rounder had already dismissed Shoaib Malik and had run Yasir Hameed out with a brilliant one-handed pick-up and throw from third man. Three overs later, he ran out Abdul Razzaq, again from third man. Then the innings fell apart as seven wickets went down for 31 runs in nine overs.

Quick wickets were needed as Shoaib opened the bowling for Pakistan. The paceman ripped out the openers, but then he encountered sterner resistance as Lara blasted 31 off 30 balls and Sarwan made batting look relatively easy on a difficult pitch. Arrests were made among disgruntled sections of the crowd as the match drifted towards its inevitable conclusion.

* A fractured left thumb may force the Australia captain, Ricky Ponting, to miss his side's eagerly awaited tour to India. The first Test, in Bangalore, is scheduled to begin on 6 October.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
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

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine