Gros Islet (St Lucia): West Indies skipper Brian Lara smashed a superb unbeaten 177 to dominate the Sri Lankan attack on the fifth and final day of the opening Test, heading for a draw here Tuesday.
The stylish left-hander cracked 20 fours in his 21st Test hundred to help his team reach 384 for six at lunch in reply to Lankaís 354 at the Beausejour Stadium. Omari Banks was the other not-out batsman, on six.
Lara, stranded on 93 Sunday, initially struggled a bit in the nervous nineties before reaching his fifth century in as many Tests against Lanka.He crossed 150 in the closing overs before the break when he fluently drove Vaas through the covers.
Nearly two sessions Sunday and the entire dayís play the following day were washed out.
Resuming at 272 for four, the West Indies added 112 in the extended morning session with Lara alone contributing 84.
Off-spinner Muttiah Muralidharan grabbed both the wickets that fell on a fifth-day pitch to finish with four for 126.
Lara looked unstoppable after reaching his ton as he exploded with a flurry of boundaries, hitting Kaushal Lokuarachchi for 16 runs in an over, including three fours.
His teammates continued to struggle against Muralidharan who kept a tidy line and length right from his opening over. Muraliís first victim was Samuels., The spinner struck again when he deceived Ridley Jacobs, trapping him leg-before.