Brian Lara, Maestro

Oh to be in Antigua yesterday, not just for the usual reasons, but also to watch Brian Lara making an astonishing 313 Not Out against the English bowlers who have, improbably enough, had the better of the West Indies batsmen in the first three matches in this surprising series. I don’t think there’s anyone in world cricket that I would rather watch making a triple hundred. (Sachin Tendulkar, perhaps, but I’m not sure he ever will.)

The one time I saw Lara bat — on the final day of the Oval Test in 2000 — I’d have happily watched him bat all day and make a lot of runs. But then he was out for 47, and the England bowlers went on to win the game after that reasonably efficiently.

(This was also the day on which two other greats, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh, appeared for the last time in Tests in England, and received the standing ovations they deserved. So it was a memorable day to be at the Oval, even in the absence of a Lara century — or double century, or triple century…)

UPDATE: He did it: 400 Not Out. What a hero.

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