The Ultimate Test XI is done and the fans have made their votes count, overruling a panel of experts and the SportsMax Zone to pick two spinners in their line-up.

From jump street, the fans looked as if they would not be swayed by the opinions of the Zone and the panel, who had to get their ducks in a row if they wanted the final say on who makes SportsMax’s Ultimate XI.

Whereas all were agreed that India’s Sunil Gavaskar was probably the greatest opener the world has ever seen as was a shoo-in for the first opening spot on offer, the fans disagreed with the panel and the Zone on the other opener. Hands down, Fanalysts believed Gordon Greenidge, despite boasting a lower average than most in the Ultimate XI Test shortlist, was the man for the job.

The Fanalysts were outvoted as the Zone, who had 30% of all votes and the panel, who had another 30, believed Australia’s Matthew Hayden the man to walk to the crease in partnership with Gavaskar.

Then there were other differences of opinion. According to the panel, the greatest middle-order batsmen of all time, read Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, and Sir Vivian Richards.

The Zone team, despite being made up of solely Caribbean journalists, disagreed. Sir Viv, they said could not fill the third spot in that middle order ahead of an Australian, Sir Donald Bradman.

The Fanalysts agreed and put the weight of their 40% of the vote squarely behind the Australian great.

So now the fans missed out on one of their picks for opener and the panel missed out on one of their picks for a middle-order batsman.

At the allrounder position and the wicketkeeper position, there was unison as Fanalysts, Zone and panel believed Sir Garfield Sobers should fill the former position, while Australia’s Adam Gilchrist is the best the world has ever seen don gloves.

It is in the bowling category that the most controversy was expected and that’s where the most variance occurred.

According to the Zone, Malcolm Marshall, Curtly Ambrose, Wasim Akram and Muttiah Muralitharan would provide the greatest bowling attack the world has ever seen.

The panel disagreed.

The panel, believed Marshall a shoo-in, New Zealand’s Sir Richard Hadlee could not be left out, and South Africa’s Dale Steyn was the final pacer to make up a bowling attack that had one spinner in Muttiah Muralitharan.

Hadlee never stood a chance for the Fanalysts, and neither did Steyn for that matter.

For the Fanalysts, a choice between Muralitharan and Warne, the two bowlers with the most wickets in the history of Test cricket, was too difficult to make and they picked both.

That left space for just two pacers and the all-West-Indian pairing of Marshall and Ambrose was the obvious choice.

With 30 per cent of the vote going to Hadlee, and another 30 per cent going to Steyn, Warne easily made his way into the Ultimate XI with the Fanalysts offering him up with their 40.

Based on all the Ultimate XI profiles have told you about these players, tell us who was right.

Were the fans who got their way with Bradman and the two spinners right? Or is there something to be said for the experts who went with Hadlee and Steyn, or even the Zone, who decided on Akram?

Were the Fanalysts accurate in going against the grain with picking Greenidge ahead of Hayden, or were the Zone and the panel correct in overruling them?  

Crazy or not, we are trusting the Fanalysts again with our Ultimate XI ODI team. 

Check out the shortlist below, tell me who you would pick in the comments section on Facebook and Twitter then go and vote after we tell you how wrong you are. Voting begins later today after the SportsMax Zone on SportsMax.tv.

 

Brian Lara made his ODI debut against Pakistan on November 9, 1990. He made just 11 then but he would go on to amass more than 10,000 runs in his career, which perhaps was not as exceptional as one might have come to expect from one of the greatest batsmen who ever lived.

He made his first ODI hundred, 128, on February 19, 1993, against Pakistan and would add 18 more over the span of the next 14 years until his final game in 2007. His 169 against Sri Lanka in October 1995 was his best score in the limited-overs format, averaging 40.48 over the course of his career.

Along with his 18 ODI hundreds, the little magician from Trinidad also fashioned 63 half-centuries in the 299 matches he played.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Brian Charles Lara

Born: May 2, 1969, Cantaro, Santa Cruz, Trinidad

Major teams: West Indies, ICC World XI, Marylebone Cricket Club, Mumbai Champs, Northern Transvaal, Southern Rocks, Trinidad & Tobago, Warwickshire

Playing role: Batsman

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Height: 5 ft 8 in

 

ODI Career: West Indies (1990-2007)

Mat        Inns        NO         Runs      HS     Ave        BF           SR        100s        50s                    

299         289          32         10405    169     40.48     13086      79.51        19           63          

 

Career Highlights

  • 2nd most runs in ODIs for the West Indies
  • Scored 19 centuries and 63 fifties in ODIs
  • 1st player for the West Indies to pass 10,000 ODI runs
  • Scored 10,405 runs at an average of 40.48

The all-time West Indies Championship is shaping up quite brilliantly and after this week, we’ll have just one more territory (Guyana) to pick an all-time best team from.

This week figuring out who the best players from Trinidad and Tobago could not have been a more difficult prospect.

The twin-island republic has created some wonderful talents over the years it has been a part of the West Indies Championship and to find XI has been a task and a half.

One of the interesting things about the territory is the number of all-rounders of real quality it has produced. Those allrounders compete with the specialists in a real way, making picking the team on the strict premise of six batsmen, a wicketkeeper and four bowlers very interesting.

But here is our effort at doing so.

As is usual, we ask you, the fans, to help us pick this team. Comment on Facebook and let us know if we missed anybody.

Best XI

Jeffrey Stollmeyer

Jeffrey Stollmeyer’s contribution to cricket in the West Indies is a thing of legends, the batsman running the West Indies Board of Control during a tumultuous time that involved the Packer series. Before that though, Stollmeyer produced first-class cricket for Trinidad and Tobago that only Brian Lara would surpass, averaging 44.61 throughout a career that would include 14 centuries and 38 half-centuries in just 117 games.

 

First-Class career: 1938-1957

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave     100s     50s

117      194     16     7942      324    44.61     14       38 

 

 

Joey Carew

Joey Carew is the first man to lead Trinidad and Tobago to back-to-back Shell Shield titles. On the way to doing that, the legendary Trinidadian scored 13 centuries and 43 half-centuries at an average of 38.47. Carew was a stylish opening batsman, who, from the looks of him, should have scored more runs than he did, and he scored a lot.

 

First-Class career: 1955-1974

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS     Ave     100s     50s 

129      221    18      7810     182    38.47     13       43  

 

 

Brian Lara

Brian Charles Lara’s name is always in the discussion when someone asks who is the greatest batsman of all time. The legendary left-hander made his presence felt in the First-Class arena as well, scoring 501 not out in a County Championship match for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston. Those 501 runs can be added to a mammoth 22,156 the man dubbed The Prince of Port of Spain was to score in a fabulous career. He would end that career with not just the highest aggregate of runs for a Trinidad and Tobago batsman, but with the highest average of 51.88 and the most centuries and half-centuries, the number adding up to 65 and 88 respectively.

 

First-Class career: 1987-2008

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS      Ave    100s    50s  

261      440     13     22156    501*   51.88     65      88    

 

 

Larry Gomes

It is interesting that Larry Gomes was seen as too diffident in the early days of his career, but those signs of a man lacking self-confidence were merely the coverings of a batsman learning what were his strengths and deciding to be the rock that would hold everything else in place without too much fanfare. That approach would lead to 32 first-class centuries and 63 half-centuries, figures that only the greatest batsman to come out of Trinidad and Tobago would eclipse. Gomes would end his first-class career with an average of 40.56, with only Brian Lara and Jeffrey Stollmeyer ever achieving higher. His tally of 12,982 runs was no small figure either.

 

First-Class career: 1971-1988

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS      Ave       100s    50s

231      370     50     12982   200*   40.56        32      63 

 

 

Gerry Gomez

Gerry Gomez is one of those rare cricketers who can do it all. Averaging 43.64, inclusive of 14 centuries and 29 half-centuries, Gomez was a fine First-Class batsman, but he was also a fine medium pacer, bagging 200 wickets over the course of his 126-match-long career. Those 200 wickets came at an average of 25.26. The batting allrounder has taken 10 wickets in an innings on two occasions to combine with the five times he has had five-fers.

 

First-Class career: 1937-1956

Batting

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS      Ave      100s     50s    

126      182     27      6764     216*   43.63      14       29      

Bowling

Mat    Inns    Balls     Runs   Wkts     BBI     Ave     Econ    SR      4w     5w    10w

126               15178    5052      200     9/24   25.26    1.99    75.8                5         2

 

 

Charlie Davis

Charlie Davis can count himself unfortunate not to have had a significant West Indies career, the middle-order batsman doing his reputation no disservice in the 15 games he played at the top. As a West indies batsman he only played 15 Tests but scored four centuries and four half-centuries to end his career with an average of 54.20. His talent is clear, as at the First-Class level his 41.32 average is special as well, the batsman scoring 14 centuries and 28 fifties in his 90 games.

 

First-Class career: 1960-1976

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave     100s     50s   

90       152     18      5538     183    41.32      14       28 

 

 

Denesh Ramdin (wicketkeeper) 1.59 dismissals per innings

Being the wicketkeeper of choice in a Trinidad and Tobago all-time best XI is no easy thing, with the likes of Deryck Murray in the list of those to choose from. However, with 15 centuries and 33 half-centuries to add to his 433 dismissals at the first-class level is hard to ignore. Murray had more but from nearly twice as many games with the two achieving a similar 1.5+ dismissals per match. The difference between the two is in their batting. Murray could bat, but scored just 10 centuries from his 362 games, compared to the 15 Ramdin has scored from just 161.

 

First-Class career: 2004-present

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS      Ave      100s    50s     Ct          St

161      273     36     7115     166*   30.02      15      33       393        40

 

 

Learie Constantine

Learie Constantine is one of the first truly great allrounders to come out of the West Indies. Most decidedly, a bowling allrounder, Constantine took 438 first-class wickets at an average of 20.48 and at an even more incredible strike rate of 45.5. His 24.05 average with the bat could be higher but his five centuries and 28 fifties tell the story of a hard-hitting lower-order batsman who could win you a game from both sides of the game. He was also a remarkable fielder, who saved tonnes of runs and almost never dropped a catch.

 

First-Class career: 1955-1974

Batting

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS     Ave    100s    50s   

119      197     11     4475     133    24.05     5       28     

Bowling

Mat    Inns    Balls      Runs      Wkts   BBI     BBM      Ave      Econ     SR       4w     5w     10w

119               17393     8991      439      8/38                20.48    3.10      39.6                 25       4

 

 

Tony Gray

Tony Gray was tall, strong and really quick. His six-foot, six-inch frame generated alarming bounce and when his pace was added to that it made for nightmares. In just 122 First-Class matches Gray bagged 451 wickets at an average of 22.80. His strike rate of 45.5 makes him an elite bowler, probably worthy of more worldwide acclaim than he received.

 

First-Class career: 1983-1995

Mat    Inns     Balls      Runs         Wkts     BBI     BBM       Ave      Econ   SR       4w     5w     10w

122                20548    10283         451       8/40                  22.80    3.00   45.5                19        4

 

 

Sonny Ramadhin

With buttoned sleeves, Sonny Ramadhin neatly pulled down 758 wickets, the most for a Trinidad and Tobago bowler, making him the most successful bowler, let alone spinner in the history of the twin-island republic’s history. If Ramadhin’s impact on the West Indies team was impressive, his impact on First-Class cricket was incredible. His best figures of 8-15 cannot find many matches, while his economy rate of 2.04 strangled many a team over the 16 years he twirled his offbreak.

 

First-Class career: 1949-1965

Mat    Inns    Balls      Runs     Wkts     BBI     BBM      Ave      Econ    SR      4w     5w     10w

184                44937   15345      758      8/15                20.24    2.04     59.2                51      15

 

 

Ian Bishop

Back injuries slowed Ian Bishop, who when he started, was incredibly quick, making spectators gasp at the thudding of the ball into the wicketkeeper’s gloves despite the man behind the stumps standing halfway toward the boundary. Even as his pace slowed, Bishop remained a real threat, swapping some of that pace for guile and know-how. He still ended up with 549 wickets at an average of 23.06 and a strike rate of 48.3.

 

First-Class career: 1986-1999

Mat    Inns    Balls        Runs     Wkts    BBI     BBM    Ave      Econ   SR      4w     5w     10w

159             26554     12665         549     7/34             23.06      2.86   48.3                23       1

A quick look at the stats of legendary South African all-rounder suggests that he should not just routinely be part of conversations that speak about the best all-rounder of all-time but perhaps the best of all-time.

Instead, it seems the South African has been found short of ground in another routine legend ranking discussion, finishing behind the incomparable Garfield Sobers and it seems struggling to finish ahead of Imran Khan, in the latest Ultimate XI Test cricket all-rounder choice.

Let’s get this straight, if Kallis is to come up short it will certainly never be on the weight of his statistics.

The batsman’s Test record compares favourably with almost any other batsman of modern times.  In terms of run scored, his total of 13,289 is third on the all-time list, bettered by only Ricky Ponting (13,378) and Sachin Tendulkar (15,921). 

In fact, Kallis has scored some 1,336 more runs than Brian Lara, a man who is generally considered as one of the four best batsmen of all time, and in some instances, the best. In terms of averages, he has a higher average than Lara, Tendulkar, Dravid, and Ponting. Compared to batsmen who have made debuts in the past 30 years, only Kumar Sangakkara, Steve Smith, and Adam Voges (who only played 20 Tests) can top Kallis’ career average of 55.37.

His 45 Test centuries is second on the all-time list behind Tendulkar’s 51 and four ahead of Ponting and lest we forget he was just short of 300 Test wickets with 292 at 32.65.

But, despite constantly etching his name above the greats some have found it easy to dismiss Kallis's case because he lacked one factor many of his contemporaries possess. He was unspectacular.

The South African simply got the job done with very little fanfare. Best summed up in his own words; “I think it was my personality. I never really enjoyed the limelight, I liked going about my business and just getting on with the job. I never played the game for accolades or anything like that.”

For some, that has been enough to relegate one of the greatest players of a generation to a mere consideration, or well below what his achievements merit in the debate on greatness, but it shouldn’t be.

Panellists and the SportsMax Zone have gone through their picks for the batsmen who will make up SportsMax’s Ultimate XI Test team but fans (Fanalysts) are still coming up with theirs. The differences in opinions are there and all three groups have good arguments for them.

As far as openers go, both the SportsMax Zone and Panellists agree that Matthew Hayden and Sunil Gavaskar should be the first to face the bowling of any team that may be created to challenge the Ultimate XI Test lineup. The fans though, believe Gordon Greenidge should join Gavaskar at the opening position.

As far as batsmen 3-5 go, the Zone has picked Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar and Don Bradman, while the panellists have replaced Bradman with Sir Vivian Richards.

The Fanalysts have sided with panellists so far, meaning the batting line-up for the Ultimate XI at this point could look this way.

Sunil Gavaskar will face the first ball while Matthew Hayden will be at the non-striker’s end, while Sachin Tendulkar comes at three with Brian Lara walking at four. At the moment, Viv Richards is walking at five.

If this doesn’t represent your Ultimate XI you can change it by voting for the makeup of your team. The fanalyst vote counts for 40% of the overall decision and you can vote as many times as you want until May 22.

Click the link here to start voting or to submit your XI again.

Few in world cricket made batting look more sublime. 

Lara’s style would mesmerize not only common spectators but professional cricketers, inclusive of his opponents as well.

Brian holds the record for the most Test runs in an innings when he scored 400 not out against England in Antigua. That marked the second time the little genius was doing this after Matthew Hayden with 380 against Zimbabwe at Perth had broken his world record of 365. That 365 was also scored at the Antigua Recreation Ground and also came against England.

But even before the big triple century and the quadruple century, it was clear Lara had an appetite for big runs. In Australia, Lara scored 277 before he was eventually run out, but went on to score eight more double centuries.  Only Donald Bradman with 12 and Kumar Sangakkara with 11 have more scores over 200.

Outside of his records and the number of runs he has scored, Lara was a stylist, who many have tried to mimic to varying degrees of success. Lara's walk to the crease was as impressive as Viv Richards', complete confidence on show. Then there was an eye-catching high backlift that would not change whether he was attacking or defending. His shots were a mixture of elegance, precision and power that has not been replicated to this day. It was said before his decline began that setting a field for Lara was a pointless endeavour because he could always find the gaps anywhere they were. 

He was also a game-changer and had the talent to change the nature of a match in very short order. In two hours of Lara being at the crease, an opposition could lose four and a half days of dominance.

 

Career Statistics

 

Full name: Brian Charles Lara

Born: May 2, 1969 (age 51)

Place of birth: Santa Cruz, Trinidad and Tobago

Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)

Batting style: Left-handed

Bowling style: Right-arm leg break

Role: Batsman

 

Test Career:   West Indies (1990-2006)

Mat      Inns    NO   Runs      HS      Ave      BF         SR        100s     50s    

131      232     6     11953   400*   52.88   19753        60.51       34       48     

 

Career highlights

  •  Record holder for highest individual score in Test history (400*)
  •  Only player to reclaim world record for highest individual Test score 
  •  Only player to have two 350+ scores in Tests
  •  Third most double centuries in Tests (9)
  •  One of 13 players to score centuries against all Test-playing nations  
  •  Scored 20 per cent of team runs, only Don Bradman and George Headley have scored higher
  •  Scored the largest proportion of his team’s runs, 53.88 per cent in one Test
  •  A record three of his innings placed in top 15 of Wisden’s top 100 list (2001)

Wednesday marked the 66th anniversary of Roger Bannister's fabled sub four-minute mile.

Although sporting records are always there to be broken, some best marks will forever hold a special place.

Here, we look at some of the competitors whose defining performances will continue to echo through the ages.

 

ROGER BANNISTER

Helped by two pacemakers, Bannister thrilled crowds at Iffley Road, Oxford by clocking 3:59.4 for his four laps of the cinder track.

The record lasted only 46 days before Australia's John Landy shaved more than a second off Bannister's mark, while Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj is the current men's mile record holder with 3:43.13. But Bannister's name will always be associated with the distance more than any other.

NADIA COMANECI

Elite stars at the top of their sports will often contend there is no such thing as perfection in competition, although the great Comaneci can always beg to differ.

As a 14-year-old at the 1976 Olympics, the Romanian superstar became the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect 10 for her performance on the uneven bars. She went on to achieve the same mark six more times in becoming the youngest all-around Olympic gold medallist.

BOB BEAMON

Before the long jump final at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, no man had jumped beyond 28 feet. American favourite Beamon broke through that barrier and the 29-foot mark for good measure with a truly remarkable leap.

Beamon's 8.90 metres remained a world record until Mike Powell hit 8.95m during his titanic tussle with Carl Lewis at the 1991 World Championships.

JIM HINES

Another United States track and field star to revel amid the altitude of Mexico City in 1968 was sprinter Hines.

He took gold in the 100m final with a time of 9.95 seconds, making him the first man to dip below 10 seconds without illegal wind assistance.

PELE

Three World Cup wins as the shining star of Brazil's prolonged golden era mean Pele does not need statistics to burnish his considerable legend.

And yet, at the Maracana on November 19, 1969, the 29-year-old Pele slotted home a 78th-minute penalty for Santos against Vasco da Gama for his 1,000th career goal. Even allowing for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's phenomenal exploits, it is hard to envisage anyone ever matching the 'milesimo'.

ARSENAL

Arsene Wenger invited widespread derision in 2002 when he suggested it was possible for his Arsenal team to go a whole Premier League campaign unbeaten. The season after, they did just that.

Preston North End had their own "Invincibles" back in 1888-89, although the First Division season was a mere 18 games long in those Victorian times. Formidable Manchester City and Liverpool sides falling short of Arsenal's unbeaten exploits in recent seasons have only underlined the scale of the achievement Wenger masterminded.

BRIAN LARA

West Indies great Lara made the biggest individual score in Test history when he plundered a mammoth 375 versus England in 1994 – a record that stood until October 2003, when Australia opener Matthew Hayden hit a merciless 380 at Zimbabwe's expense.

Back at St John's against the same opponent as in his initial exploits, Lara took the record back into his ownership a mere 185 days after Hayden's heroics, bringing up 400 not out for the first quadruple century in cricket's longest format.

AL GEIBERGER

Golf's modern era is increasingly littered with players hitting hot streaks and low scores but going below 60 for a round still holds considerable allure.

It was a different time in 1977 when Geiberger became the first player to shoot 59 on the PGA Tour, illuminating the second round of the Memphis Classic at Colonial Country Club. No one managed the feat again on a major tour for 14 years.

Keith Arthurton did not have a stellar career with the West Indies but there was one day in particular that his prodigious talent was on show and it was a beautiful moment to watch.

Legendary Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi has admitted that bowling to West Indies legend Brian Lara was, for him, always a terrifying experience.

Despite managing to dismiss Lara on a few occasions, Afridi, a fearsome hitter of the ball himself, admits that he was never confident while running up to bowl to the often-brutal left-hander.

“That would have to be Brian Lara. I got him out a few times but whenever I was bowling to him, I always had the feeling in the back of my mind that he is going to hit me for four the next ball. He had an effect on me. I never bowled with any confidence to him,” Afridi said in a recent interview with Wisden.

Lara scored some 11,953 Test runs and 10405 ODI runs in a star-studded career, which included setting the highest individual score recorded in a Test match with 400.  Lara scored his highest total against Pakistan with a double century, at Multan, in 2006.

“He was a world-class batsman who dominated the best spinners he came up against, even the likes of Muttiah Muralitharan in Sri Lanka. His footwork against spinners was brilliant, and the way he batted against such bowlers was a wonderful sight. He was sheer class.”

 

West Indies fast bowling legend Curtly Ambrose believes batting icon Brian Lara was in too much of a rush to claim the post of team captain, going on to find the task tougher than he expected.

Having previously played under another bowling great, Courtney Walsh, Lara officially took charge of the West Indies team for the 1997-98 England tour of the Caribbean.  The move was not without some controversy at the time, as some felt the then 28-year-old had been instrumental in forcing Walsh out of the post.  Ambrose seems to have been among them.

“Brian Lara, to me, was too hasty to lead the West Indies team. We knew he was going to be the natural successor to Courtney Walsh because when Courtney Walsh became the captain he [Walsh] had a couple of years left in him and all Brian Lara had to do was just wait on his turn because Courtney was doing a fairly good job,” Ambrose told the Antigua Observer.

Walsh had taken over the post from Richie Richardson for the 1994-95 West Indies tour of India.  While in charge, the bowler went on to lead the team for 22 Test matches with a record of 6 wins 7 losses and 9 draws.  In ODIs, where he led the team 43 times, the West Indies won 22 lost 20, with one no result.

Lara oversaw the team for 47 Test matches, where they won 10, lost 26 and drew 11.  In ODIs he captained for 125 matches, winning 59, losing 59, with 7 no results.

“He was too anxious to be the captain and there was no competition because once Courtney left the scene he would have, but he realized it was not as easy as he probably thought. A lot of people were upset for him with that because he made it public that he wanted to be the captain; he campaigned for it and to me, it was disappointing,” he said.

Despite the team’s struggles, Lara performed well as captain individually, his 3725 runs and 5 centuries putting him 14th for most runs scored as a captain.  In Tests, he ranks 8th with 4685 and 14 hundreds, including his record 400.

 

 

 

 

It is exactly 16 years since Brian Lara swept Gareth Batty behind square and trotted through for his 400th run of a remarkable innings.

On April 12, 2004, Lara not only reclaimed the record Test innings, he set a mark that remains standing today.

The West Indies great frustrated England's attack across two and a half days in Antigua, the Test eventually finishing as a draw to ensure the hosts avoided a 4-0 whitewash.

The 1,696th Test of all time belonged to Lara. Here, we take a look back at his 400 not out in numbers.

 

16.66 average - Lara's fourth Test score was all the more incredible given he had made just a combined 100 runs at an average of 16.66 across the previous three matches in the series.

12 hours, 58 minutes - Lara batted for 12 hours and 58 minutes to get his record. That is only the seventh longest Test innings of all time, though, with Pakistan's Hanif Mohammad having occupied the crease for over 16 hours against West Indies in 1958.

582 deliveries - England used seven bowlers in that West Indies innings and Lara faced 582 balls without getting out. However, that does not even make the top 10 longest vigils in terms of balls faced, with Len Hutton leading the way when he faced 847 balls in 1938.

43 fours, four sixes - Of Lara's unbeaten 400, 196 runs were made via boundaries (43 fours and four sixes). He scored more fours (45) when making 375 against England a decade earlier, though he failed to clear the ropes in that match.

68.72 strike rate - Across 232 Test innings, Lara had a strike rate of 60.51 so he was actually marginally more aggressive than normal during his knock against England.

Unbroken 282-run stand for the sixth wicket - Lara shared two partnerships worth over 200 runs during his innings. He made 232 alongside Ramnaresh Sarwan (90) for the third wicket then made 159 of the 282 he and Ridley Jacobs (107 not out) accumulated before the Windies declared on 751-5.

185 days - Just six months after Australia opener Matthew Hayden broke Lara's previous Test record with 380 against Zimbabwe, the previous holder took back the honour.

5,844 days - Lara's record has now stood for 5,844 days. Since his innings, Mahela Jayawardene (374 in 2006) and David Warner (335 not out in 2019) are the two men who have come closest to eclipsing it.

As what would have been Masters week draws to a close, Jordan Spieth can reflect upon the fifth anniversary of one of the most dominant displays the famous Augusta National course has ever seen.

April 12 also brought great deeds earlier in the century from Brian Lara, who became the first and still-only Test batsman to score 400 as he racked up an unbeaten quadruple century against England in Antigua.

Meanwhile, it also marks the date when Manchester United once again got the better of 2008 Champions League final foes Chelsea in Europe's top competition.

Here, we take a look back at those memorable sporting moments.

 

2015 - Spieth dominates at Augusta

At the tender age of 21, Spieth became the first wire-to-wire winner of the Masters since Raymond Floyd in 1976.

His final score of 18 under tied Tiger Wood's all-time best winning mark from 1997, obliterating the field to become golf's latest superstar.

It was the beginning of a purple patch for Spieth, who added the U.S. Open in thrilling fashion 10 weeks later and came second at that year's US PGA Championship, while a third major came into his possession at the 2017 Open Championship.

However, with golf joining the bulk of the sporting world on hiatus at present, the American finds himself languishing 56th in the world rankings and without a win to his name for almost three years.

2004 - Lara regains Test cricket's world record

West Indies great Lara made the biggest individual score in Test history when he plundered a mammoth 375 versus England in 1994 – a record that stood until October 2003, when Australia opener Matthew Hayden hit a merciless 380 at Zimbabwe's expense.

Back at St John's against the same opponent as in his initial exploits, Lara took the record back into his ownership a mere 185 days after Hayden's heroics.

Michael Vaughan's England could console themselves with the fact a famous series victory was already in the bag as Lara ploughed on for 582 deliveries across 12 hours and 58 minutes at the crease.

Lara swept Gareth Batty behind square to reach 400 not out, prompting the declaration. His 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham in 1994 remains the highest first-class score of all time.

2011 - United best of British again against Chelsea

Three years on from John Terry's fateful slip in a Moscow penalty shoot-out, Chelsea had the chance for Champions League revenge against Manchester United.

Carlo Ancelotti's side, who pipped Alex Ferguson's men to Premier League glory the previous season, faced an uphill task at Old Trafford having lost the first leg of their quarter-final 1-0 to a Wayne Rooney goal.

Javier Hernandez doubled United's advantage on the stroke of half-time and, even though Didier Drogba came off the bench to equalise on the night despite a red card for Chelsea midfield Ramires, Park Ji-sung made sure of United's progress 3-1 on aggregate.

United went on to reach the final, where they were beaten by Barcelona in a repeat of their experience in the 2009 showpiece. Ancelotti was sacked at the end of the Premier League season with Chelsea a distant second to the Red Devils.

Australia spin legend Shane Warne has named Brian Lara as the captain of the Best West Indies XI he has ever faced, with Chris Gayle named an opening batsman.

The crafty ball-turner has spent some of the COVID-19 lockdown naming best XI’s of players from countries that he has faced.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was Lara who seems to have made the biggest impression on the spinner.  Lara had the penchant to be brutal against Australia, who he averages 51 against in Test cricket, and scored a best of 277 in Sydney in 1993.  The innings has often been described as one of the finest ever played in Test cricket.

"Lara and Sachin (Tendulkar) were the two best batsmen of my time, his 277 run-knock against us was one of the best innings I saw him play," Warne said on Instagram.

Also making the cut were Desmond Haynes, who was picked to open with Gayle. Next up was Richie Richardson. The middle-order featured the likes of Carl Hooper, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ridley Jacobs.

The bowling line-up was led by Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh and feature Ian Bishop and Patterson Thompson.

Warne’s XI

Desmond Haynes, Chris Gayle, Richie Richardson, Brian Lara (c), Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Carl Hooper, Ridley Jacobs, Ian Bishop, Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose, Patterson Thompson.

 

A comparison between Chris Gayle and Brian Lara, might on the face of it, seem a little silly, but in truth, while Brian Lara is most decidedly the far superior Test cricketer, their ODI records aren't that far apart. 

For instance, Gayle has scored more centuries in ODIs than has Lara with 25 to his name, while Lara has 19.

From just having watched both players, Lara is a genius of unparalleled levels and his class versus that of Gayle's may provide a whitewash for the Trinidad and Tobago left-hander, however, in his prime, Gayle may just have drawn as many excited fans to watch his power unleashed.

At the World Cup where it matters most, Lara scored 1,225 runs between 1992 and 2007. The Prince of Port of Spain had his most productive World Cup in '92 when he scored 333, but was always a heavy contributor with 269 in 1996, 106 in 1999, and 248 in 2003 and 269 in 2007.

Gayle has scored less but not much less, from the same number of World Cups. Gayle has 1,186 runs between 2003 and 2019. He scored 206 runs in 2003, 228 in 2007, 170 in 2011, 340 in 2015, and 242 in 2019.   

With Statistics as close as that, we felt comparing Gayle and Lara, especially in ODIs was fair game. What do you think?

*T20s excluded because of the fact that Lara never got to play much.

Career highlights

BL

  • Highest individual score in Test cricket
  • Fastest batsman to score 10,000 (with Tendulkar/Sangakarra) and 11,000 Test runs

CG

  • Scored the fastest ever ODI double century
  • Highest run-scorer for the West Indies in ODIs