Brian Lara's world record 501 not out has been voted the Greatest Ever Innings for the Bears after taking 53 per cent of the vote.
All the innings on the short list were great – but most Bears fans (many thanks to everyone who voted) felt that the only individual innings in world cricket ever to top 500 was hard to look beyond.
Lara’s unbeaten 501 against Durham at Edgbaston in 1994 arrived from 427 balls and included 62 fours and ten sixes. It saw the West Indian genius become the first batsman to score seven centuries in eight first-class innings and lifted the Bears to their record total – 810 for four.
And he’d been dropped on 18!
Lara’s masterpiece almost certainly holds another world record. No innings in the history of cricket can have had more words written and spoken about it.
Bob Woolmer, the Bears’ director of coaching at the time, recalled a conversation on the day itself at lunchtime, when Lara had 285.
“Brian said to me: ‘What score’s the first-class record?’ I said: ‘499 – you’re not going for that?’ He said: “Well, are you thinking of declaring?” And Dermot Reeve said: “Well, sort of. We’ll see how it goes”.
“So it was agreed he could at least go for the Warwickshire record, 305, and then I said to Dermot: “Let him go the whole way.”
He did go the whole way. A truly unique innings which puts Lara in the Bears Greatest pantheon alongside, so far, Allan Donald, Dermot Reeve and Eric Hollies.
That’s quite a Bears Greatest team coming together…