This day, that year: Twenty-three years since Brian Lara’s epic 501*

first_imgBrian Lara’s 400* against England back in 2004 in Antigua still stands as the highest individual score by a player in Test cricket but very few would know that it’s not his highest score ever.Twenty-three years from today back in 1994, he scored 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston. In the process he overtook the previous best of 499 by Hanif Mohammad for Karachi against Bahawalpur in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy semi-final in 1959.Lara achieved the milestone off 427 balls and in 474 minutes. Luck was shining for him and he made the most of it.The now 48-year-old was bowled off a no-ball when he was batting on 12 by Anderson Cummins and was then dropped by wicketkeeper Chris Scott on 18. What followed was fluent and delightful to watch. He hit 174 runs before lunch on the final day of the match and finally brought up his 500 with a cover drive off the bowling of John Morris. Lara hammered 62 fours and ten sixes in his 501*.With that innings, he also became the first man to make seven hundreds in eight first-class innings. His previous best of 375 against England was the first of the eight centuries. It was also the highest individual score in Test cricket until Matthew Hayden scored 380 against Zimbabwe in 2003. But he took his record back in April 2004 with 400* against England in Antigua.The Prince of Trinidad is considered as one of the best cricketers in the history of the game and his ability to play long innings has always made him stand out. And when he was dropped on that day, the players knew that they will have a huge task ahead of them to knock the West Indian down.advertisement”Oh dear, he’ll probably go on and get a hundred,” said Scott apparently after dropping him.Dermot Reeve, the captain of Warwickshire was amazed at the confidence Lara showed. It prompted him to continue and not declare the innings as the West Indian was nearing the record landmark.  “During the interval the crowd grew as word spread Lara was hitting out. I thought about declaring at lunchtime to make a game of it,” Reeve told the Daily Express.”But Brian said, ‘Let me go for 500’. It shows how confident he was,” he added.His 501* remained the highest individual score by any batsmen.He played his last Test in 2006 and one-day international a year later. While he has 11,953 runs from 131 Tests — averaging 52.88, he has scored 10,405 runs in 299 ODIs at an average of 40.48.He tried his hand at the shortest format of the game as well, when he played in the now defunct Indian Cricket League but failed to make a mark there. He went onto play a few T20 games here and there but his stats are nowhere near his Test and ODI records.last_img read more