Brian Lara records the highest Test score, reported in the Guardian, April 19 1994
Saturday April 10, 2004
"Records," as Sir Garfield Sobers said yesterday, "are just there to be broken." They come and they go. But this one was special; not just the most prized crown in cricket but one of the greatest individual records in sport. At 11.47am Eastern Caribbean time Brian Lara, a diminutive left-handed batsman whom the gods have touched, became the highest-scoring batsman in Test history, while playing against England.
It was a moment to savour, treasure and pass on to the grandchildren. Twelve thousand people were there to witness the thunderous pull to the square-leg boundary that took him to 369 and beyond the 365 that Sobers had scored against a hapless, depleted Pakistani attack 36 years ago in Kingston. Many thousands more will claim to have seen Lara's innings in the fullness of time.
As the ball crossed the boundary and Lara raised his hands to the sky, a tidal wave of humanity swept across Antigua's Recreation Ground, engulfing and overpowering the constabulary ring that had been posted around the boundary and swamping the hero in the maroon hat. Others stood and danced, so much it was a wonder the stands did not collapse.
As pandemonium reigned, a distinguished, grey-haired, rather Mandela-like figure appeared from the West Indian players' balcony, made his way down the steps and with a police escort, hobbled sedately out to the middle to greet Lara. Sir Garfield St Aubrun Sobers had his own, very personal congratulations to deliver. It was in 1954 that he, as a teenager, had been introduced to Test cricket, and so fitting amid the 40th-anniversary celebrations that have been preoccupying the islands that Lara's achievement should have rounded them off.
Lara becomes only the ninth person to hold this record of records in the 117 years since Charles Bannerman opened the first innings of the first Test with 165 runs. Only 11 batsmen have made more than Lara in any first-class match, and this is only his 16th Test and third Test century.
To get to his goal he had to bat longer than any West Indian before: Sobers's 365 took 10 hours 14 minutes. By the time Lara, on 375, was caught by a tumbling Jack Russell behind the stumps driving loosely and extravagantly at Caddick's last ball before lunch, he had been at the crease for 12 hours 46 minutes, since the first half-hour of the match on Saturday, when Fraser and Caddick, unbelievably now it seems, had reduced the West Indies to 12 for two.
· This article is drawn from the archive at the Newsroom
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