One of the most charismatic cricketers in the modern era, Brian Charles Lara was known not just for his classy batting, but also for the consistency with which he hit big hundreds. In fact, for long he was the lone performer for a West Indies team that had hit its lowest ebb in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
On this day in 2004, Lara once again proved why he was often considered the closest in comparison to India’s very own legend Sachin Tendulkar. In the fourth Test of the series against England in St John's, the West Indian became the first player to reclaim the record of the highest individual score in the longest format of the game.
With the series already in England’s bag, Lara was under immense pressure as the West Indians were staring at a whitewash at home. But he decided to let the bat do the talking as he hit a mammoth unbeaten 400 to take West Indies to a first innings score of 751/5 declared.
In reply, England were bowled out in the first innings for 288 and managed to eke out a draw as skipper Michael Vaughan hit a brilliant 140. The draw helped West Indies avoid the follow-on, but more importantly, it once again came to the fore that Lara was one of the most prolific run-getters to have played the gentleman’s game.
Australia opener Matthew Hayden, who had topped Lara's 375 with a knock of 380 against Zimbabwe had held the record for just six months before Lara reclaimed it. Interestingly, Lara’s knock of 375 had also come against England at St. John’s in 1994.
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