June 6 or rather more specifically, the summer of 1994 will always remain a very special one for Brian Charles Lara as he scored a mammoth 501 for Warwickshire against Durham to register the highest first-class individual score of all time, two months after he surpassed Sir Garfield Sobers’ 365 by ten runs to score 375 against England.
Lara’s 501 saw him overtake the Pakistan legend Hanif Mohammad’s 499 which had stood since 1959. However, it wasn’t a cakewalk and the southpaw had a couple of scares to deal with after walking in at 8/1.
Lara was bowled off a no-ball on 12 and then was dropped by wicketkeeper Chris Scott on 18 (Scott apparently said: "Oh dear, he'll probably go on and get a hundred"). In all, Lara faced only 427 deliveries, and hammered 62 fours and ten sixes.
Before Lara decided to make it his show at Edgbaston, Durham had scored 556 runs in 149 overs based on a double century from John Morris.
That season, he scored 2006 at an average of 89.82 with a streak of 7 centuries in 8 innings.
Interestingly, Lara wasn’t even meant to be in England that summer, for a start. Warwickshire had signed Manoj Prabhakar with Allan Donald on South Africa duties, but when the Indian all-rounder landed in Birmingham for pre-season with stitches still fresh from ankle surgery, the deal was called off and the club had to move fast.
As luck would have it, chairman MJK Smith was out in the Caribbean managing England’s tour and snapped up Lara. This was just days before the world record 375 in Antigua elevated the eye-catching 25-year-old to international stardom, when days later might have seen demand rocket prohibitively.