Record-breaking Lara belts 156 as Windies wallop Pakistan
by AFP

Ground:Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Scorecard:Pakistan v West Indies
Player:Mohammad Yousuf, Mohammad Hafeez, RR Sarwan, S Chanderpaul, BC Lara
Event:VB Series 2004/05

DateLine: 28th January 2005


Skipper Brian Lara returned to his brilliant best, blasting a record-breaking 156 as the West Indies put Pakistan to the sword with a 58-run victory to keep their tri-series hopes alive.


Lara's superb knock on Friday, his 19th century in one-day matches, helped the Windies to a ground-record 339 for four, a tally well beyond the means of a lifeless Pakistan who could manage just 281 for nine in reply.


It was also the highest individual one-day score at the Adelaide Oval, surpassing Indian Sourav Ganguly's 141 in the 1999-2000 season.


Playing in his 250th limited overs international, it was Lara's fifth limited overs century against Pakistan coming off 138 balls as he smacked five booming sixes and 12 fours.


After a scratchy start, Lara, still playing with the wrist injury which has plagued him for most of the series, put his foot on the gas and kept pushing hard.


His first 50 came off 81 balls, his second from 36 and his third off just 19 deliveries in 17 minutes as he humiliated the woeful Pakistan attack.


"Early on I still got a feeling of pain in my wrist, the ball wasn't coming off the bat properly, the bat had a bit of a split on it. Maybe that was the reason," Lara said.


"But as I got warm and the adrenaline started flowing. I think things really worked out later on."


Together with left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the pair provided the backbone which allowed the Windies to stand tall in their hour of need, with a partnership which piled on 187 runs on a slow batting wicket.


"I enjoyed batting today and I enjoyed the fact that I went out there and did something for the team, so I'm quite happy," Lara said.


"But that's all in the past now. I'm looking forward to Tuesday and another good performance from the 11 guys that take the field."


Defeat in the match would have ended any hopes the West Indies had of playing in the best-of-three finals series against Australia, who have already qualified.


Instead, Pakistan, who were two points clear of their rivals, now trail them by the same margin and face the unbeaten host nation in Perth on Sunday.


They will then play a final match against the West Indies, also in Perth, next Tuesday which will decide the fate of both teams.


The West Indian total was the highest for a one-day match at the Adelaide Oval, beating the previous best of 329 for five set by Australia against India in 2000, and was also the fourth-highest ever set in Australia.


Lara and Chanderpaul set the platform to reach it, carrying the Windies from a tentative 56 for two after being sent in to bat.


Opener Chris Gayle was first to fall when he was bowled by Iftikhar Anjum for just nine.


His partner Ricardo Powell, slotting in for Wavell Hinds who was moved down the order, was then trapped lbw by Rana Neved-ul-Hasan for 23.


The situation then worsened when Ramnaresh Sarwan was forced to retire on two after a Rana Naved-ul-Hasan delivery struck him on the right elbow.


He was later cleared of any serious injury but suffered extensive bruising.


Chanderpaul and Lara then set about restoring cricketing pride to the West Indies, although their partnership started with neither batsman able to find their timing or rhythm but both showing grit to hang in.


It was the almost the 40th over before the pair really started to really accelerate the run-rate.


Chanderpaul reached 85 off 92 balls before he was caught by Mohammad Hafeez off Shahid Afridi as the pair continued to step up the tempo in the 43rd over.


Lara was fortunate when on 97 after Afridi missed a simple caught and bowled opportunity and later he was dropped in the field while on 143.


His demise finally came when he was bowled by off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez in the 49th over.


Pakistan, who needed someone to produce a spectacular innings if they were going to challenge the West Indies, seemed to lack passion.


They were well served by Mohammad Hafeez who scored a run-a-ball 41 then later by Yousuf Youhana who made 45 from 46 deliveries and Abdul Razzaq with 44 from 48 but never looked like threatening the Windies' total.


Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq said Lara was almost unstoppable at his best and was the clear difference.


"Lara played outstanding today, that's why they made 340," Inzamam said.


"When he's getting runs his team must win."


For the West Indies, key strike bowler Pedro Collins could only manage four overs before he had to be replaced with a thigh strain while Ian Bradshaw was suffering from a sore heel.


Yet Pakistan could not take full advantage of the lack of depth in their opponents' bowling line-up and seemed content to let the match go.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)


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