Brian Lara and his batting records have a special place in the memory of cricket fans from all over. On 18th April 1994, he recorded his then highest test score of 375 at Antigua Recreation Ground, St John's in Antigua. On the way, he also broke the then world record of 365, scored by another West Indian great, Sir Garry Sobers.
The record gave Lara worldwide fame and acceptance as one of the top two batsmen of that era along with Sachin Tendulkar. He still did not have a contract with any of British county teams for the summer, but an opportunity came knocking. For Warwickshire, their overseas professional was Allan Donald, who could not join due to national duties. Their next choice was to go for the Indian all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar who failed to recover in time from the ankle injury and had to go back home. Among all these, they signed the young Brian Lara, a champion batsman and someone who could show his value any time. That was what exactly happened on 6th June 1994.
After Durham posted 556 runs in 149 overs based on a double century from John Morris, it was Lara’s turn to control and light up the Edgbaston ground with his batting. The first wicket fell on 8 and brought Lara to the crease. For the next few days, it was Lara and Warwickshire who mostly dominated the match. It was not a chanceless start. He was bowled on a no-ball when he was on 12 and then Durham Wicketkeeper Chris Scott dropped Lara for 18. At that time Scott thought, his drop might cost his team a century by Lara, but no one could foresee what was going to happen.
Lara kept scoring and passing milestones at will. 100, 200 and 300 runs were crossed. And then Lara started moving to less frequent areas as he passed 350, 400 and even 450. Till then the highest first-class score was 499 by the great Hanif Mohammad, who was run out while trying to take his 500th run. Thankfully there was no such bad luck for Lara. He became the first player to score more than 500 runs in an innings in first-class cricket. His 501 came off 427 deliveries in nearly 8 hours with 62 fours and 10 sixes.
25 years on, this record still stands and looks difficult to break in the near future. But like any other record in sports, maybe someday someone will deliver a performance to match the great Brian Lara and establish a new record.