400 big ones

It’s old news now but it would be remiss not to acknowledge the achievement of the great Brian Lara in becoming the first batsman to score 400 in a single Test innings.

I won’t enter into platitudes or describe the innings, except to say that he survived a big caught behind appeal when not off the mark. And it was none other than our own Darryl Hair that wisely gave him the benefit.

I do care to enter into some stats and analysis:

1. Lara is the first batsman to reach 400 in a Test innings.

2. Lara is the first batsman to reclaim the world record score.

3. Lara is just the second batsman, after Bradman, to go past 300 on two occasions (Bradman also had a 299 not out).

4. Bradman made both of his triples against the same opposition at the same ground (Leeds), as did Lara (St Johns). (The opposition was England in all cases).

5. Lara has now passed 200 on seven occasions, second only to Bradman with nine.

6. Lara is now closing in on 10,000 runs, with 9657 to his name. Maybe he’ll get there with his next innings.

7. The aggregate of Lara’s top five scores is the highest of any batsman, bettering even Bradman (just), the master of huge scores.

8. More than 15% of Lara’s test runs are accounted for by just 5 innings (of a total of 187 innings). I’m not sure what that means – I think it means that he is an enigma.

And now for the news:

Despite Lara’s heroics, England drew the match, after trailing by 500 on the first innings. Still, the West Indies once again managed to avert their first clean sweep defeat on home soil. It has to be said that one man’s personal triumph cannot disguise the fact that the series was a complete disaster for the home team. In fact, to put Lara’s 400 into perspective, the West Indies aggregated 400 just once in the first 3 tests, passed 300 in an innings just once and were bowled out for less than 100 twice (and less than 50 on one occasion).

Pakistan and India are playing the third and deciding Test of the series in Pakistan. Pakistan were shot out for just 224 on the first. India is now in a commanding position, despite losing first Test triple centurion, Sehwag in the first innings and Tendulkar for just 1. Dravid is grinding out yet another big score – he is 178 and India are on 5/449.