| Brian Lara during his 191 in Harare onThursday. (AFP)
Bulawayo: Brian Lara just missed out on a double-century as he became the West Indies’ all-time leading Test run scorer on Thursday in the second Test against Zimbabwe.
Lara’s 191 out of a total of 481, however, could not stop Zimbabwe fighting their way back into the game as they recovered from 31 for three to close the second day on 173 without further loss.
Craig Wishart was unbeaten on 86 with Mark Vermeulen 60 not out. Zimbabwe took the last seven Windies wickets for 130.
Lara, who recorded a 22nd Test century, was at the crease for four and a half hours and faced 203 balls, hitting 23 fours and four sixes. In commanding form, the West Indies captain attacked all the bowlers while showing neat footwork against the slow bowlers.
He hit two consecutive sixes off left-arm spinner Ray Price, the first over extra cover and the next back over the bowler’s head.
The left-hander went into the match with 8,434 runs, 106 behind Viv Richards’ total of 8,540.
Lara was 77 not out overnight, and passed Richards in the 11th over of the day with a cover drive for four off Price.
He batted beautifully before lunch and seemed set for a successful afternoon only for fast bowler Andy Blignaut to dismiss him with the second ball of the second session, a wide delivery which Lara, reaching, cut to Craig Wishart at slip.
Lara leapfrogged England’s Alec Stewart and Richards to go from ninth to seventh on the list of all-time run scorers, with only Steve Waugh of Australia and India’s Sachin Tendulkar ahead of him among current players.
The West Indies, resuming on 282 for three, were dismissed nine overs after lunch, the innings lasting 107 overs. Price took five for 199 from 43 overs while Blignaut took four for 86.
Lara and overnight partner Ramnaresh Sarwan took their fluent partnership to 190 before Sarwan fell for 65 to a catch by Vermeulen at silly point off Price.
Zimbabwe took the new ball in the 20th over of the day and soon handed it to Price who had Shivnarine Chanderpaul well caught by Wishart at slip for 15 with his fifth delivery. Television replays suggested the ball had come off the pad.
Zimbabwe’s slide began with the 11th ball of the innings when Vusi Sibanda, on two, stopped on a drive and offered a simple return catch to fast bowler Fidel Edwards.
Three overs later Gripper dragged a delivery from fast bowler Dillon onto his stumps to be bowled for one, and Zimbabwe were 31 for three when Edwards bowled Stuart Carlisle off the edge for 11.
Wishart and Vermeulen stopped the rot with some careful batting. Wishart batted for almost three hours, faced 132 balls and hit 13 fours and a six.