World record holder of highest batting scores in cricket | Sunday Observer
Brian Lara:

World record holder of highest batting scores in cricket

25 June, 2023

Brian Lara is the only batsman in the history of cricket to create the record for the highest individual Test score twice. Lara is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest batsmen of all time. He topped the Test batting rankings amongst cricketers in the world on several occasions.

Lara holds the world record for the highest individual score of 400 not out in a Test innings at Antigua during the 4th Test against England in 2004. He also holds the record for the highest individual score of 501 not out in first-class cricket, for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston in 1994, which is the only quintuple-hundred in first-class cricket history.

Lara won 32 Test matches for the West Indies, having played 131 and scoring 11,953 runs. In his 299 ODI Matches, he won 139 scoring 10,405 runs. He is popularly nicknamed as “The Prince of Port of Spain” or simply “The Prince.” Lara was made an honorary Member of the Order of Australia in 2009. He also received Honorary Life Membership of the MCC in 2013. Lara was inducted to the ICC’s Hall of Fame in 2012.

Lara’s match-winning performance of 153 not out against Australia in Bridgetown, Barbados in 1998/99 has been rated by Wisden as the second-best batting performance in the history of Test cricket. Muttiah Muralidaran has hailed Lara as his toughest opponent among all batsmen in the world.

As captain, Lara led the West Indies to win the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy, the first major ICC trophy since the 1979 Cricket World Cup. Lara has been bestowed with honorary doctorates by the University of Sheffield in 2007, the University of the West Indies in 2011 and the D. Y. Patil International University of India in 2019.

Lara also held the record of scoring the highest runs of 28 in a single over in a Test match for 18 years until broken in 2003. Lara was awarded the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World awards in 1994 and 1995. He is amongst the three cricketers to receive the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year, others being Sir Garfield Sobers and Shane Warne.

Birth and Early Career

Brian Charles Lara, born May 2, 1969 in Santa Cruz, Trinidad and Tobago is one of eleven siblings. He was enrolled in the local Harvard Coaching Clinic at 6 for coaching on Sundays. As a result, Lara had a very early education in correct batting technique.

Lara being a Christian, his first school was St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic primary. He then went to San Juan Secondary School and at 14, moved on to Fatima College where he was developed as a promising young player under coach Harry Ramdass.

At 14, he amassed 745 runs with an average of 126.16, which earned him selection to the Trinidad and Tobago Under-16 team. At 15, he played in his first West Indian Under-19 youth tournament and went on to represent West Indies in Under-19 cricket.

In 1987, Lara, in the Youth Championships scored 498 runs breaking the record of Carl Hooper. As captain of Trinidad and Tobago, he produced a match-winning 116 to win the tournament.

In 1988, Lara made his first-class debut for Trinidad and Tobago in the Red Stripe Cup against Leeward Islands. In his second first-class match, he made 92 against Barbados. Later, he captained the West Indies team in Australia for the Bicentennial Youth World Cup. His innings of 182 as captain of the West Indies Under-23s against the touring Indian team further elevated his reputation.

In 1989, he captained a West Indies B Team in Zimbabwe and scored 145. In 1990, at 20, Lara became Trinidad and Tobago’s youngest-ever captain, leading them to victory in the one-day Geddes Grant Shield. It was also in 1990 that he made his belated Test debut for West Indies against Pakistan. He had made his ODI debut a month earlier against Pakistan.

International Cricket Career

In January 1993, Lara scored 277 versus Australia in Sydney, his maiden Test century in his fifth Test, to win the series 2–1. Lara holds several world records for high scoring. He has the highest individual score in both first-class cricket (501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham in 1994) and Test cricket (400 not out for the West Indies against England in 2004). Lara amassed his world record 501 in 474 minutes off only 427 balls. He hit 308 in boundaries (10 sixes and 62 fours). Earlier in that season Lara scored six centuries in seven innings for Warwickshire.

He is the only cricketer to have reclaimed the Test record score, having scored 375 against England in 1994, a record that stood until Matthew Hayden’s 380 against Zimbabwe in 2003. His 400 not out also made him the second player (after Sir Donald Bradman) to score two Test triple-centuries, and the second (after Bill Ponsford) to score two first-class quadruple-centuries. He has scored nine double-centuries in Tests, third after Donald Bradman (12) and Kumar Sangakkara (11). As a captain, he scored five double-centuries, which is the highest by any captain.

In 1995 Test match series in England, Lara scored 3 hundreds in three consecutive Tests which earned him the Man of the Series award. He also held the record for the highest total number of runs in a Test career, after overtaking Allan Border in 2005. This was later broken by Sachin Tendulkar playing against Australia in 2008.

Lara captained the West Indies from 1998 to 1999, when West Indies were beaten by South Africa. He played against Australia in a four-Test series which was drawn 2–2, with Lara scoring 546 runs including three centuries and one double hundred. In the second Test, he scored 213 while in the third Test he scored 153 not out in the second innings as West Indies chased 311 with one wicket left. He won the Man of the Match award for both matches and was also named Man of the Series.

In 2001, Lara was named the Man of the Carlton Series in Australia with a highest average of 46.50, scoring two half centuries and 116 against Australia. That same year Lara amassed 688 runs in the three match away Test series against Sri Lanka making three centuries and one fifty, including a double-century and a century in the first and second innings of the 3rd Test match, equating to 42% of the team’s runs in that series. These extraordinary performances led Muttiah Muralidaran to state that Lara was the most dangerous batsman he had ever bowled to.

Lara was reappointed as captain against Australians in 2003, and struck 110 in his first Test match, showing a return to stellar performance. Later that season, under his captaincy, West Indies won the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka 1–0 with Lara making a double-century in the First Test. In 2004, West Indies won the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy in England under his captaincy. For his performances in 2004, he was named both in the World Test XI and ODI XI by ICC.

Lara returned to the team for the second Test against South Africa in April 2005 and scored 196. In the third Test, he scored 176. After a one-day series against South Africa, he scored his first Test century against the visiting Pakistanis in the first Test at Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados in May 2005, which the West Indies eventually won. For his performances in 2005, he was named in the World Test XI by ICC.

On April 26, 2006 Lara was reappointed the captain of the West Indies for the third time. In May 2006, Lara led the West Indies to successful One-Day series victories against Zimbabwe and India. Lara’s team played Australia in the finals of the DLF Cup and the ICC Champions Trophy where they finished runners up in both finals.

On December 16, 2006 he became the first player for the West Indies to pass 10,000 ODI runs. Lara played his final international game on April 21, 2007 in a dead rubber World Cup game against England.

Cricket Records

Lara struck 277 runs against Australia in Sydney, his maiden Test century, the fourth-highest maiden Test century by any batsman, the highest individual score in all Tests between the two teams and the fourth-highest century ever recorded against Australia by any Test batsman. He became the first man to score seven centuries in eight first-class innings, the first being the record 375 against England and the last being the record 501 not out against Durham.

After Matthew Hayden eclipsed his Test record for highest individual score of 375 by five runs in 2003, he reclaimed the record scoring 400 not out in 2004 against England. With these innings he became the second player to score two Test triple-centuries, the first and only player to score two 350-plus scores in Test history, the second player to score two career quadruple-centuries, the only player to achieve both these milestones, and regained the distinction of being the holder of both the record first-class individual innings and the record Test individual innings. He is the only player to break the world record twice.

He also set the record for the highest individual Test score as captain (400 not out). In the same innings, he became the second batsman to score 1,000 Test runs in five different years, four days after Matthew Hayden first set the record. He was the all-time leading run scorer in Test cricket, a record he attained on November 26, 2005 until it was surpassed by Sachin Tendulkar on October 17, 2008. He was the fastest batsman to score 10,000 (with Sachin Tendulkar) and 11,000 Test runs, in terms of number of innings.

He has the most Test centuries for a West Indian with 34, joint-fifth along with Sunil Gavaskar, on the all-time list behind Sachin Tendulkar (51), Jacques Kallis (45), Ricky Ponting (41) and Rahul Dravid (36).Nine of his centuries are double-centuries (surpassed only by Kumar Sangakkara and Donald Bradman), two of them are triple-centuries (matched by Donald Bradman, Virender Sehwag and Chris Gayle).

He has scored centuries against all Test-playing nations. He became the sixth batsman to score a century in one session, doing so against Pakistan on November 21, 2006.Lara has scored 20% of his team runs, a feat surpassed only by Bradman (23%) and George Headley (21%).

Lara scored 688 runs, 42% of team output, a record for a series of three or more Tests, and the second-highest aggregate runs in history for a three-Test series in the 2001/02 tour of Sri Lanka. He also scored a century and a double-century in the third Test against Sri Lanka, a feat repeated only five other times in Test cricket history.

He has scored the most runs (351) on a losing side in a Test. He scored the largest proportion (53.83 per cent) of his team’s runs in a Test. Lara held the world record of scoring most runs in a single over (28 runs) in Test cricket.

He scored the ninth-fastest Test century (77 balls) against Pakistan in 2006.With 164 catches, he is the eighth-highest all-time catch-taker of non-wicketkeepers, behind Rahul Dravid, Mahela Jayawardene, Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting, Mark Waugh, Stephen Fleming and Graeme Smith.

In 1994, he was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality Award. In 1995, he was chosen as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year. Lara had played some of his best innings in the latter stage of his career. The Wisden published a ‘Top 100 List’ in 2001. Three innings by Lara were placed in the top 15 (the most for any batsman).

The Wisden 100 rates Lara’s 153 not out in Bridgetown, Barbados, during West Indies 2–2 home series draw against Australia in 1998/ 99 as the second-greatest Test innings ever played, behind Bradman’s 270 against England at Melbourne in the Third Test of the Ashes Test series of 1936/37.

Retirement and Recognition

On April19, 2007 Lara announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket. His last Test was against Pakistan in November 2006. After his last ODI versus England on April 21, 2007, he went out and took his ‘Lap of Honour.’

In 2007, Lara signed for the Indian Cricket League and captained the Mumbai Champs. In 2008, he volunteered to play for his home team Trinidad and Tobago and made a memorable match winning hundred and a dismissive undefeated half-century over Guyana.

In 2010, he affirmed his commitment to return to T20 cricket, and appeared for the Marylebone Cricket Club match against a touring Pakistan team. In 2012, Lara became involved with the Bangladesh Premier League team Chittagong Kings as their brand ambassador. On the occasion of bicentennial anniversary of Lord’s ground he played for the MCC against the Rest of World XI in a 50 over game, scoring a half century in an eventual win for the MCC.

In 2010, he joined Southern Rocks, a Zimbabwean side, and on his debut for the Rocks, and his first-ever T20, he scored 65. After expressing his desire to play in the 2011 IPL, Lara managed to attract the highest reserve price of $400,000 at the IPL players’ auction.

In 2014, he played for the MCC side in the Bicentenary Celebration match at Lord’s. In 2021, Lara was appointed as Batting Coach and Strategic Advisor of the Sunrisers Hyderabad team for the IPL 2022.Lara’s father died in 1989 and his mother in 2002. Lara has established the Pearl and Bunty Lara Foundation, a charitable organisation in memory of his parents.

He took part in Soccer Aid 2008, and Soccer Aid 2010, playing for the Rest of the World versus a team of England celebrities and ex-pros. Lara was a talented football player in his youth and played with his close friends Dwight Yorke, Shaka Hislop and Russell Latapy who represented Trinidad and Tobago at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Lara is an Ambassador for Sport of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and travels on a diplomatic passport to promote his country throughout the world. Lara has two daughters, Sydney (1996), named after his favourite Sydney cricket ground where he scored his maiden century, and Tyla (2010), whom he fathered with Trinidadian journalist and model Leasel Rovedas.

The Brian Lara Cricket Academy is a multi-purpose stadium in Trinidad and Tobago, completed and inaugurated in 2017 and built to hold 15,000 people in a mix of fixed seating and grass banks. The stadium serves as a training facility for cricketers and has computerised biometric technology as well as areas specifically designed for the print, radio and television media.

(The author is an Associate Professor, International Scholar, winner of Presidential Awards and multiple National Accolades for Academic pursuits. He possesses a PhD, MPhil, and double MSc. His email is [email protected])