Lara bags a pair

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Brian Lara completed the first pair of his career yesterday and then was promptly made captain for West Indies' match against Middlesex today.

Lara, victim of a double dismissal from Kent's Dr Julian Thompson, will lead the team out at Lord's because both Richie Richardson and Courtney Walsh are in need of rest before next week's fourth Test.

That, at least, is the official explanation. But, privately, West Indies must be hoping added responsibility will help the world's best known batsman to find some form ahead of his next meeting with England.

Incredibly, Lara has not made a century in 18 innings on this tour. He has threatened a big score several times - but two noughts against Kent at Canterbury must have dented his confidence.

Thompson, a 26-year-old qualified doctor, may yet need to concentrate full-time on a medical career.

This was only his third first-class match in two seasons and he is still waiting for a Championship appearance this summer. But the 6ft 4in paceman will never forget dismissing Lara twice in the space of 48 hours.

On Wednesday, a catch behind sent the left-hander packing for a fourth-ball duck. And yesterday, Thompson needed only two deliveries to repeat the dose - this time winning an lbw decision.

"It swung and basically he just missed it," said the doctor, who is on call to play for Tunbridge Wells against Gravesend in the Kent League today. "I don't know what to say. Getting him out twice for a duck in the same match is just unbelievable."

Despite Thompson's triumph, he also dismissed Sherwin Campbell for a second time, West Indies completed a six-wicket victory before lunch when needing to score only 90 in their second innings.

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