Best, Collins strike as England struggle at Antigua

Associated Press

St John’s, April 13:

Brian Lara rewrote history again with a majestic 400 not out to lead West Indian domination of England on a record-filled third day of the fourth cricket Test on Monday. At stumps, England was 171 for five, having to reach 552 just to avoid the follow-on in reply to the West Indies’ 751-5 declared. Lara became the first batsman to score 400 in Test cricket half an hour after lunch, reclaiming the record for the game’s highest score almost 10 years to the day he first set it, also against England at the same Antigua Recreation Ground. Ridley Jacobs, who helped Lara add a West Indies record unbroken sixth-wicket partnership of 282, compiled his third Test century of 107 not out almost unnoticed. The West Indies total was the highest scored against England, surpassing Australia’s 729-6 declared at Lord’s

in 1930.

England has already secured the series, their first in 36 years in the Caribbean, with easy victories in the first three tests, but Lara appears to have ensured the West Indies will not be swept at home for the first time. Jacobs, a native Antiguan, provided solid support to Lara, reaching his third Test century just before lunch to the delight of his home fans. He smashed three sixes and eight fours off 207 balls in just over five hours. He had a lucky escape when he was bowled for 87 by England captain Michael Vaughan but umpire Darrell Hair’s no-ball call reprieved him.

The West Indies bowlers followed their captain’s lead with an impressive performance over the final two sessions to limit England to 98-5 at one point. Vaughan was unlucky to be given out caught behind for 7 off Pedro Collins at 8-1. But his opening partner Marcus Trescothick could have no quarrel after he edged a rash cut off Tino Best to Jacobs. Best also claimed Nasser Hussain with a fast, outswinging yorker as England slumped to 54-3. It got worse after Mark Butcher passed 4,000 Test runs and was bowled by Collins for 52, and Graham Thorpe top-edged a hook off Fidel Edwards to fine leg for 10. But Andrew Flintoff (37 not out) and debutant Geraint Jones (32 not out) added 73 unbroken for the sixth wicket to give England hope. Collins took two for 37 while Best claimed 2-20 before leaving the field with an ankle injury.

Hayden praises Lara’s batting record

BRISBANE: Australian cricketer Matthew Hayden says West Indies captain Brian Lara has taken batting to a new level by reclaiming the world record innings with an unbeaten 400 against England.Hayden scored 380 against Zimbabwe in Perth last October to break Lara’s old record (375 against England in 1994) and held the world mark for about six months.

“I sort of had the expectation that he was going to break the record — he really had it in his sights,” Hayden told reporters on Tuesday. “He’s truly taken it to a new level.” Hayden said he’d spoken to Lara on the phone to congratulate him for “what was a truly amazing effort.”

“I wanted to let him know how appreciative I was when he contacted me in Perth last October, and I thought it was only appropriate that I pass on my own best wishes to him.”

Hayden said setting the record last year had been “one of the most memorable days of my life, but records are made to be broken and, as a batsman, I guess they can fall at any time.” The Australian opener said Lara’s innings would be remembered as one of the most outstanding efforts in cricket.