When it comes to Test cricket, Brian Lara was a benchmark in himself. The Trinidadian had slammed as many as nine double hundreds in the longer format in 131 games that he played in a career span of 16 years. It is certainly a difficult task to pick the best among all his double tons but the 50-year-old accomplished that too.
On Thursday, the former West Indies captain chose his 213 scored against Australia at Sabina Park, Kingston, in March 1999 as his best knock ever. In fact, Lara even ranked it ahead of his famous 277 scored against the same opponents at the Sydney Cricket Ground in January 1993. It was his first ever ton in international cricket and announced the grand arrival of the Caribbean maestro.
Lara had even named his daughter Sydney after the iconic venue, perhaps to commemorate the memorable knock. However, while the West Indies had won the Sabina Park Test by 10 wickets, the one at the SCG was drawn. Lara was picked as the man of the match on both occasions. Lara, who was recently hospitalised in Mumbai after reporting chest pain which he thought was because of overexertion, also chose the 213 over his two unbeaten knocks of 375 and 400, scored against England a decade apart.
“Okay you keep the net and I went side on the grass and knocked off (a few shots)… we were 36/4 (34/4) and (later) were 375/4… that innings of 211 (213) in the face of being sacked, I can see in the media, board members, they were so happy that Brian is coming to the end and we can get rid of him,” the Hindu cited reports quoting Lara, who was conferred with a Doctorate of Science by D Y Patil University, Mumbai, as saying.
It definitely the best I have ever batted
“Obviously pulling that innings out in face of adversity, it showed me what I was capable of. It might not have been the prettiest, but it definitely the best I have ever batted in my entire life… a week later they named me captain for rest of the year… 153 (in Barbados) was good but a week earlier the 213 was maybe my best-ever.”
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The 153 not outscored in Barbados in the very next Test in the 1999 series was another epic knock played by Lara that had given his team a thrilling one-wicket win.
He even explained why he had picked that particular innings of 213 as his best for it had come at a time when he was under tremendous pressure as the captain after having done miserably in the previous series against South Africa.