Lusty Lara blasts 196 to lift West Indies in second Test
by AFP

Ground:Multan Cricket Stadium, Multan
Scorecard:Pakistan v West Indies
Player:CH Gayle, D Ganga, BC Lara, DJ Bravo, Danish Kaneria
Event:West Indies in Pakistan 2006/07

DateLine: 21st November 2006


Brian Lara hit a majestic undefeated 196 on the third day of the second cricket Test to put his team in a commanding position against Pakistan at Multan stadium here on Tuesday.


The 37-year-old Trinidadian, who became the fifth batsmen to score century before lunch in Test cricket, blunted the Pakistan attack to take his team to 509-5 at close on the third day.


The tourists now have a lead of 152 runs over Pakistan's first-innings score of 357 and are in a strong position to press for a series-levelling win after losing the first of three Tests by nine wickets in Lahore.


Lara reached his 34th Test hundred off just 77 balls with a pull off fast bowler Shahid Nazir for two runs in the penultimate over before lunch after 125 minutes of batting.


His century, studded with 12 boundaries and five sixes, is the ninth fastest Test hundred in terms of balls faced and overshadowed a brilliant 93 by Chris Gayle, 89 by Dwayne Bravo and 82 by Daren Ganga.


In his 366-minute stay at the crease so far Lara has hit 21 boundaries and seven sixes, putting the home bowlers into submission.


The imperious left-handed batsman put on 200 for the fifth wicket stand with Bravo which erased West Indies' previous fifth wicket best of 183 against Pakistan set by Collie Smith and Everton Weekes at Bridgetown in 1957.


Pakistan finally dismissed Bravo in the dying minutes when he edged leg-spinner Danish Kaneria to slips.


Lara scored his century in the extended two-and-a-half hour session. He took the field at the fall of Chris Gayle's wicket and made exactly a hundred runs in the session - the criteria for a batsman to have hit a century before lunch.


This becomes Lara's fourth successive hundred against Pakistan after scoring two in as many Tests in the Caribbean last year and 122 in the first Test of the current series.


Lara now shares the second position in the Test century makers' list with India's Sunil Gavaskar. Sachin Tendulkar of India leads the table with 35 centuries.


Lara gave two chances, first when Imran Farhat failed to catch a sharp chance in the slip off Shoaib Malik when the batsman was 131 and then wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal dropped him on 183 off leg-spinner Danish Kaneria.


Lara, who holds the record of highest Test score of 400 made against England two years ago, hit Kaneria for 60 runs off just 29 balls to frustrate Pakistan's main hope.


So forceful was Lara's hitting that he broke his bat and changed another in the second session. Lara hit Kaneria for two sixes and as many boundaries, then hit Abdul Razzaq for his eighth boundary for his 49th Test fifty off just 48 balls.


Pakistan delayed the second new ball and Lara took full advantage, hitting Kaneria for 4, 0, 6, 6, 6, 4 in his 30th over to race within eight runs of his fourth hundred in as many Tests against Pakistan.


Lara's countryman Vivian Richards holds the record of the fastest Test century notched off just 56 balls against England at St. John's, Antigua in 1985.


Lara's big hitting forced Pakistan to take the second new ball with the score at 281 and it brought the required results for Pakistan. Umar Gul dismissed Runako Morton (five) and Nazir removed Shivnarine Chanderpaul for 14.


Chanderpaul, playing his 100th Test, was caught off a miscued pull to leave the West Indies at 302-4.


When Kaneria returned for his next spell after lunch, Bravo hit him out of the attack with three successive boundaries. Bravo hit nine boundaries in his fifty.


Earlier Kaneria dismissed Chris Gayle in the fifth over of the day after the West Indies resumed at 151-0. Gayle hit eleven boundaries and added 162 runs for the opening wicket.


Ganga added another 58 runs for the second wicket with Lara before Kaneria trapped him leg-before.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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