And that's his 100....Brian Lara....hits it over the top....and the West Indies captain...the prodigal son turned Messiah gets his second 100 in successive tests. And if the 213 in Sabina Park revived West Indies' fortunes, this one here has transformed the match in which they seemed to have absolutely no chance to get to even where they are now. 

Words of high excitement uttered by Tony Cozier from the commentary box as The Prince of Trinidad danced down the track and lifted Blondie over mid-on to bring up 3 figures. He had batted for 12 minutes shy of 4 hours. The first 50 had taken 118 balls and 163 minutes. The second just 51 balls and 65 minutes. He had scored 45 runs off the last 58 scored by the West Indies. Their skipper had brought them just 74 runs away from the target with Jimmy "Padams" Adams giving him solid company just like he had in Jamaica a fortnight ago. 

A Brian Lara Specialty


Ambrose & Walsh had reduced Australia to 36/3 when crisis man Steve Rodger Waugh joined Justin Langer for company. They added 108 runs in just 27.2 overs before Langer was bowled by Hooper. Ponting, who had replaced the injured Blewett, joined his captain and they wore down the home side with a 281 run partnership. Tugga was out cruelly one short of a second 200 in as many tours. Glenn McGrath reduced WI to 98/6 before Sherwin Campbell & Ridley Jacobs added 153 runs, 40 runs from avoiding the following. Both fell 14 runs apart but the tail wagged adding 64 priceless runs for the last 2 wickets. Buoyed from scoring 12 runs, Walsh shot out Australia for 146 runs and the Caribbeans were 308 runs away from taking the lead in the series which seemed improbable 3 weeks ago in Port of Spain.


Brian Lara was a scratchy starter. A high arcing backlift and shuffle meant he was prone to getting out leg before or bowled early in the innings. Early tea was taken once Australia were bowled out and the openers Campbell & Griffith applied themselves and patiently went about their job. It was the Metronome that struck first, removing 1st innings centurion Campbell in the 198th legitimate ball of the innings with the score on 72. The bend soon became a break as WI lost 3 wickets in 46 balls for the addition of just 6 runs. Lara didn't want to bat and had sent Collins as nightwatchman but once his vigil ended after just 5 minutes, the skipper walked out and spent an unconvincing half an hour at the crease to end day four, 223 bereft of the target and 7 wickets in hand. Griffith's painful innings ended in just the 5th over of final day. The charming Guyanese Carl Hooper went, a disputed decision, four more overs later and Australia were just 5 wickets away from regaining the Frank Worrell Trophy. WI were 203 runs adrift with their last recognized pair at the crease and a very long tail. 


One of Brian Lara's abilities was to pick the right moment to attack once he got his eye in. In the previous test in Jamaica, he saw a tiring Aussie side and military medium Greg Blewett and immediately hit him for four 4s in a row going from 183 to 199. This morning he bid his time and when MacGill was introduced immediately went on the offensive and took 14 runs off his first over which included three hits to the boundary. Australia were handicapped by the unavailability of Dizzy who had to leave the field with some back problems. Despite their troubles, the Aussies kept the run rate in check and WI moved to 161 without further damage at lunch. Tugga himself had to share the new ball with Pigeon as Lara began to cut loose in the post-lunch session. 

The 200 came up and moments later McGrath hit Lara on the helmet. A bit of he-said-she-said followed as Lara got into McGrath's face. The crowd roared as the players started jawing each other. Adams played peacemaker to diffuse the situation. Adams then took a single to get Lara back on strike to face McGrath again. As any proud fast bowler, he steamed in and dropped it short but the Prince was ready for it. He crouched as his sword went up high and as he sprung up the full face of the blade met the ball with thunder as the ball raced to the boundary in front of square. A most glorious way to bring up the 100 partnership. David Hookes in the comm box went, "If this doesn't get the hair up at the back of your neck, nothing will!". It was test cricket at its competitive best. McGrath dropped another short ball but this time Lara could just inside edge it on to his stomach and he scampered for a single. He almost ran into McGrath before avoiding him and then kept staring at the bowler as he returned to his mark. In Jimmy Adams' own words:
It was a very tense time, there is no two ways about it and it was edge of the seat stuff. It basically swung all day. Partnership here, wicket, partnership there couple of wickets but the common factor throughout was Brian's innings.

Adams' 170 minute vigil at the crease was ended by a peach of delivery from McGrath. A classic Pigeon dismissal. It pitched just outside leg stump and evaded Adams' blade by millimetres and kissed the outside edge of the off-stump. A priceless 38 more valuable than 100s of test hundreds before and since. Not too dissimilar to his ball that got Brian Lara at Old Trafford two months later. Minutes later he got the vital wicket of Jacobs & Nehemiah Perry with successive deliveries. Curtly "Little Bird" Ambrose survived the hattrick ball and West Indies went to tea 54 runs away from the target with just two wickets in hand. Lara was still there but with just Ambrose & Walsh who between them shared 53 ducks. Ambrose had scored an unbeaten 28 and Walsh had survived 31 balls in the first innings as they added 38 invaluable runs. Lara was batting on a majestic 112 off 198 balls. Australia were 2 balls away from triumph. West Indies who had spotted land from sea just an hour ago were now staring at the horizon.


Ambrose shored up one end as Lara kept eating away at the other. He was particularly harsh on Warne who had just come off shoulder surgery. A one handed sweep, a down-the-track on-drive that split mid-on and deep midwicket and the shot of the day: a full blooded cover drive. With fielders stationed all around the boundary, Warne tossed up, Lara flexed his elbow and got down on one knee. The arcing sword came down in a flourish from high up in the skies, through the line and against the turn, as the ball was past the boundary in the next frame. It even had the usually calm Tony Cozier purring. The target was just 4 hits out of the park. Lara's farming of the strike was as brilliant as the pacing of his innings. Ambrose also got into the act with a leg glance 4 and squeezed a waist high short ball to third man through a wall of fielders behind square: 294/8.

Magnificent Cover Driver OOOOOOH!


The tension was so high that it could be cut with a knife. The target was whittled down to 7 required. Suffering from back problems throughout the day, Gillespie powered through his 25th over of the innings. He steamed in and pitched it short of good length. With just one slip in place, Lara thought he'd have 4 easy runs if he could just steer it past Warne at first slip but the natural bounce from Dizzy's 196 cm frame got it to lift just a tad more. The ball flew to the left of Heals and was probably a straightforward catch for Warne, a fantastic slipper but it was also one keepers usually go for. He went with just one hand instead of two and dropped it. The stress wouldn't let a veteran of a then 114 tests escape. Lara took a single and confidently gave Ambrose the strike with 4 balls left in the over. Dizzy only needed one as Ambrose edged to 4th slip trying to repeat the shot off McGrath that brought 4 runs. The dismissal brought that magnificent number 11, Courtney Walsh, the man who had 32 ducks to his name then, to the crease. The crowd was forlorn and statuesque.

I went back inside the dressing room and watched it from the television and there was no one in the dressing room and it was more peace and quiet. That helped calm me down a little bit and when I went out I was pretty much composed. I was very determined not to be the person getting out. Even if I didn't get any run in the game as long as I didn't get out then we will have won the match.
Three years ago, WI were 1 blow away from beating Australia in the enthralling semifinal at Mohali. Walsh let down his skipper at the other end and was out first ball. This time he was determined to see this captain through. Dizzy had 3 strikes at Walsh. He steamed in but this time the pressure got to bowler and he overstepped. Walsh fist-pumped, 5 runs to win. A good length ball that came in, blocked! 2 balls to go. A fierce inswinging yorker, stopped dead in its track. 1 ball to go. Another good length ball on offstump, turned to gully. Walsh miraculously survived!

McGrath started his run-up. He was overworked. It was the 120th over of the innings and McGrath had bowled 43 of them. He ran in from around the wicket to cramp Lara for room. It was a strategy he had come up with to tame the great man. The greatest Bajan of them all: Sir Garfield Sobers couldn't watch. McGrath got the ball to come in to Lara. Lara misjudged the line and the ball kissed the edge and flew. Shane Warne at first slip flew together, extending every inch of his 6 foot frame, but the tall man was 4 inches too short and ball, agonizingly, went past him. The third man prevented the ball from the reaching the boundary and Lara took a couple, 3 runs to win. With two balls to go in the over, Pigeon, desperate to keep Lara on strike, bowled wide of offstump and Dave Orchard had no hesitation in calling it a wide, 2 runs to win. He slapped a bouncer to fine leg and scores were level. Walsh had to survive one ball. McGrath bowled his classic corridor delivery but the Jamaican calmly let it through. He had survived 5 balls. Lara would take strike in the next over.

Dizzy ran in. The ball pitched on good length, Lara flexed his elbow and drove it through the covers to give West Indies a most improbable victory and the celebrations had begun.


Almost three weeks ago WI were shot out for 51. They were on course for a whitewash but one man turned the series on its head. Australia were shocked by the counterattack from the Prince and turning back of the clock by Ambrose/Walsh. The Kensington Oval had seen many a great test. The great escape against Imran's Tigers, the get out of jail against India, Greenidge's brilliant 226. It was their fortress where they had been unbeaten for 59 years. It was where West Indies begun their descent 4 years ago, when Lara's & Hooper's counterattack was ended by a bump catch claimed by Steve Waugh. This time though the Prince had the last laugh. The greatest ever chase in test history! Happy 18th Dear 153*!


  1. One of the greatest Test series that i have watched in full in living memory...That year CA final preparation went for a toss!


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