Lara hundred fails to stonewall Pakistan
by AFP

Ground:Kensington Oval, Bridgetown
Scorecard:West Indies v Pakistan
Player:Danish Kaneria, Shabbir Ahmed, S Chanderpaul, BC Lara
Event:Pakistan in West Indies 2004/05

DateLine: 26th May 2005


A majestic 29th Test hundred from Brian Lara could not stop Pakistan from bowling out West Indies on the opening day of the opening Test here.


The 37-year-old Lara hit the top score of 130 at better than a run a ball, but West Indies were dismissed for 345 in their first innings, and Pakistan, in response, reached 22 without loss from four overs before stumps were drawn on Thursday.


Lara, making a return to the West Indies line-up after being rested for the preceding three-match One-day International series, played some breathtaking strokes to collect 14 fours and four sixes from 120 balls in 2-3/4 hours of batting.


West Indies captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul added 169 for the fourth wicket with Lara and was the perfect foil for the batting superstar after West Indies won the toss and chose to bat on a hard, true Kensington Oval pitch under partly cloudy skies.


Chanderpaul fell eight runs short of his 14th Test hundred, after striking nine fours from 193 balls in just over four hours.


Abdul Razzaq, Shabbir Ahmed, and Danish Kaneria, all snared three wickets for Pakistan.


Lara and Chanderpaul gave substance to their side's innings, after West Indies courted early strife at 45 for three.


But when they were separated in the final half-hour before tea, there was little support from the rest of the batting, as no one else showed any purpose.


Lara reached his first Test hundred against the Pakistanis, when he lofted two consecutive sixes off Kaneria over long-off to move from 90 to 102.


Kaneria, the target of much of Lara's punishment, had the last laugh when he deceived the great West Indies batsman and bowled him with a well-flighted delivery.


Lara has now scored a hundred against each of the nine other Test playing nations and has joined his elite contemporaries Rahul Dravid, Gary Kirsten, Sachin Tendulkar, and Steve Waugh in this achievement.


He completely dominated his stand with fellow left-hander Chanderpaul, after Shabbir, whose bowling action raised more than a few eyebrows, threatened to completely ruin the day for West Indies.


Shabbir made the early breakthroughs after West Indies chose to bat, when he had Chris Gayle caught at mid-off for four driving loosely off the backfoot, and Ramnaresh Sarwan caught at third slip for six in the first half-hour.


West Indies' position could have been more treacherous had second slip fielder Bazid Khan, making his Test debut, held a chance from Devon Smith on nine off Rana Naved-ul-Hasan.


Smith however, failed to make the most of his reprieve and he was caught at first slip off Razzaq for 19 when he edged a flat-footed drive to the same fielder.


Lara quickly shook off the rust and blossomed with a pair of spanking square drives off Razzaq, and when Chanderpaul joined him, they gradually wore down the Pakistani bowlers.


The two left-handers carried West Indies to 102 for three at lunch, and Lara set upon the Pakistani attack, particularly Shabbir, after the interval.


After Lara raced to his landmark, Yasir Hameed dropped him on 103 at slip off Shahid Afridi before Kaneria removed him.


Wavell Hinds tried to pick up where Lara left off, but he was a poor imitation, although he and Chanderpaul took West Indies to 246 for four at tea.


After the break, Hinds was carelessly run out at the bowlers' end, when he attempted a second run, after he and Chanderpaul added 49 for the fifth wicket.


Courtney Browne was caught behind off Shabbir for 12 to leave West Indies 287 for six, but Chanderpaul decided to cut loose, and tried to gallop to reach his milestone.


He however, was one of the last four West Indies wickets that fell for nine runs in the space 29 balls.


West Indies, who were beaten 2-0 at home by South Africa in their most recent Test series, have won just one Test in their last 18 matches, against lowly Bangladesh. Pakistan have never won a Test at Bridgetown, much less a Test series in the Caribbean, on five previous trips.


This is the first Test in a series of two, with the next match starting at Kingston's Sabina Park on Friday, June 3.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)


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