Lara lifts WI to promising position

Associated Press

Kingston, June 5:

Brian Lara’s commanding, unbeaten 125 guided West Indies to a promising position after Corey Collymore’s seven-wicket haul limited Pakistan to 374 on the second day of the second Test. West Indies lost captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul in the last over but Lara’s 30th Test century lifted it to 275/4, trailing Pakistan by 99 runs on the first innings. Lara, 36, cracked 16 fours and two sixes in a chanceless knock that dominated the day at Sabina Park. His fourth century in five home Tests this summer lifted him to fourth on the all-time list, surpassing Don Bradman, and in the wake of only Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar, who have 34 each, and Steve Waugh, who retired with 32. Lara arrived at the crease just after lunch when Abdul Razzaq reduced the West Indies to 59-2 despite a galloping start. Chris Gayle walloped six fours and a six in 33 off 22 balls before he snicked to Akmal.

Razzaq struck again immediately after the interval, ending Devon Smith’s attractive 25 with a shooter that rolled into off stump. Lara and Ramnaresh Sarwan rebuilt the innings in the next two and a half hours with a partnership of 146 for the third wicket. Lara dazzled just before tea as he allowed himself to advertise some of his trademark attacking strokes. He blasted legspinner Danish Kaneria twice into the Red Stripe Mound at long-on off consecutive balls.

Soon afterward, his half century arrived off 77 balls and he celebrated by smacking Rana Naved for three fours in a row. Sarwan contributed a solid 55 before he perished to the hook shot for the ninth time in Tests. Sarwan cracked eight fours off 137 balls but top-edged Shabbir Ahmed to fine leg when he seemed set for more at 205-3. Lara found another solid ally in Chanderpaul, and the pair continued to grind the Pakistanis with a fourth-wicket stand of 70 in an hour and a half. Lara, who dominated Kaneria with 54 runs off just 50 deliveries, passed three figures midway through the final session with his 12th boundary. But just as West Indies seemed set to carry the ascendancy into day three, Kaneria claimed a crucial strike as Chanderpaul feathered an edge to a topspinner. Chanderpaul hit three fours in 28.