Lara's return yields dazzling display

West Indies 281-6 v South Africa

Stimulated by his loss of the captaincy and demotion to the ranks, Brian Lara responded with a dazzling, almost inevitable hundred on his return to Test cricket yesterday.

Stimulated by his loss of the captaincy and demotion to the ranks, Brian Lara responded with a dazzling, almost inevitable hundred on his return to Test cricket yesterday.

Replaced by Shivnarine Chanderpaul after opting out of the first Test over a contracts dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board, Lara batted with the fierce determination surrounded by the turbulence that has, yet again, swirled around him over the past few weeks and with the flair that has made him the contemporary game's most exciting player.

On a well grassed pitch no other batsman could fully come to terms with, the master left-hander completed his 27th Test hundred that denied South Africa the complete initiative on the first day of the second Test. Lara closed the day unbeaten 159 after five hours 55 minutes, an innings studded with 20 fours, flashing drives and pulls, with the West Indies 281 for 6.

It was his first match since the one-day VB Series in Australia in January and his first in first-class cricket since the final Test against England at The Oval in London last August. But his stroke play was as assured as if he had never been away.

Lara's 27th Test hundred carried him clear of another flamboyant left-hander, Garry Sobers, as the most by a West Indian. On the way, he surpassed the Indians Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar on Test cricket's list of highest-run scorers, leaving him behind only the Australians, Allan Border and Steve Waugh.

Three wickets in the space of 22 runs after tea took some of the gloss off Lara's effort following successive partnerships, each of 95, with the two double-century makers of the drawn first Test, Wavell Hinds, who made 32, and Chanderpaul, 37.

Chanderpaul pushed a return catch to the left-arm spinner Nicky Boje, Makhaya Ntini claimed his fourth wicket of the innings by bowling Donovan Pagon without scoring in the next over and Andre Nel sneaked a ball that kept low through Dwayne Bravo's defence to leave the West Indies 225 for 6. But Lara found a solid partner in the wicketkeeper Courtney Browne, who shared an unbroken stand of 56.

Lara came to the middle on his home ground of the Queen's Park Oval to the relieved acclaim of his fellow Trinidadians with the West Indies faltering at 13 for 2 after Chanderpaul chose to bat in spite of the bowler friendly appearance of the pitch.

First day; West Indies won toss

WEST INDIES ­ First Innings

W W Hinds c Smith b Ntini 32

C H Gayle c Boucher b Ntini 6

R R Sarwan c Nel b Ntini 5

B C Lara not out 159

*S Chanderpaul c and b Boje 35

D J Pagon b Ntini 0

D J J Bravo b Nel 5

ÝC O Browne not out 19

Extras (b4 lb6 w2 nb3 pens 5) 20

Total (for 6, 87 overs) 281

Fall: 1-7 2-13 3-108 4-203 5-204 6-225.

To bat: D B Powell, P T Collins, R D King.

Bowling: Nel 20-6-43-1; Ntini 19-2-59-4; Kallis 13-4-41-0; Zondeki 15-0-71-0; Boje 20-2-52-1.

SOUTH AFRICA: *G C Smith, A B de Villiers, J A Rudolph, J H Kallis, H H Gibbs, A G Prince, ÝM V Boucher, N Boje, M Ntini, A Nel, M Zondeki.

Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pak) and D R Shepherd (Eng).

Sport
world cup 2014A history of the third-place play-offs
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Sport
Yaya Touré has defended his posturing over his future at Manchester City
News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice