LARA: "...greatest cricketing moment of my life," "Nothing surpasses this."

LARA: "...greatest cricketing moment of my life," "Nothing surpasses this."

Post by nrinnj20 » Thu, 15 May 2003 20:09:45

West Indies captain Brian Lara described yesterday's historic victory
over Australia as "the greatest cricketing moment of my life"
following his team's nerve-racking three-wicket win.

 "It's the greatest cricketing experience that I've had, and I've had
a few," the 34-year-old Lara said.

"I've had 375, 501 and the win in Barbados against Australia."

 "I've been playing Test cricket for 12 years and this is the greatest
cricketing moment of my life," Lara said.

"Nothing surpasses this."

 Lara's innings of 375 and 501 established world records in 1994 while
his unbeaten 153 led the West Indies to a one-wicket win in Barbados
in 1999.

 However, yesterday's tense charge to a mammoth victory target of 418
was the highest ever fourth innings total to win in the 125 years of
Test cricket.

 But there was something different about the victory. Whereas the team
has typically relied on Lara to seal victories, other players took the
spotlight while the skipper watched from the pavilion.

 Ramnaresh Sarwan (105) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (104) led the
victory charge after Lara was out midway through the fourth day for 60
at 165 for four.

 In addition, two rookies chipped in with key plays: Omari Banks (47
not out) and Vasbert Drakes (27 not out) saw the home team through
once Sarwan fell late Monday and Australia charged back with the
wicket of Chanderpaul early on the final day.

 The two rookies notched career-best scores in adding a match-winning,
unbroken 46 for the eighth wicket.

 Drakes, the 33-year-old veteran of first-class cricket but only in
his sixth Test, provided positive intent once Chanderpaul was out.

 Banks, the lanky 20-year-old from the tiny island of Anguilla, soon
followed suit and victory eventually came at a canter in his second

 "The guys went out confident," Lara said. "In Vasbert Drakes, we had
someone who was capable of taking us past the total and he showed
exactly what he was made of today."

 Lara tagged the unflappable Banks "a breath of fresh air."

 "I think he's got a great future," Lara said. "He's got a great team

 Lara said he gained confidence after a longtime fan showed him the
scores in the previous highest chase: India's 406 for four against the
West Indies in 1976 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.

 "It didn't look impressive," Lara acknowledged. "It looked like it
was a great team effort."

 "Two guys got a hundred and a guy got 80. There wasn't anything
great," Lara added.

 "It relaxed my mind. I personally thought that somebody needed to
play a big innings or we needed to be 300 without loss but I realised
that wasn't the case."

 Lara revealed how he helped motivate his team during the run chase.

 "I tried to get the guys thinking of their best innings," the skipper

 Lara, in his first series in his second stint as captain, also said
that Monday's nose-to-nose verbal confrontation between Glenn McGrath
and Sarwan was one of those incidents that added spice to the sport.

 "It's a gentleman's sport, yes, but we're playing for our country and
you expect people to give for their country and you expect people to
get into a little conflict and stuff out there," Lara said. "Of
course, a few things were said out there but it will be left out there
as far as I'm concerned."

 Lara added that he was confident the victory would propel his team to
better things for the future.

 "Achieving this is going to fast forward us to greater things in the
future," Lara predicted. "I mentioned to one of the selectors that I
don't think we're going to lose another Test match for the year
because we have improved in every single Test match."

 "(The win) showed the character and it showed the progression of the
guys, mentally and physically, and they must be commended," Lara said.

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