Brian Lara smashed a century before lunch yesterday in a super display of hard-hitting on the third day of the second cricket Test against Pakistan.
Three Australians -- V.T. Trumper (1902), C.G. Macartney (1926) and Sir Don Bradman (193) -- along with Pakistan's Majid Khan (1976) are the only other batsmen who scored centuries before lunch in Test cricket.
Lara, who scored 61 and 122 in the West Indies first Test loss last week, was unbeaten on 100 off 77 balls while Dwayne Bravo was not out on 5 with the West Indies marching to 312-4 in its first innings at lunch.
The West Indies now trails Pakistan by just 45 runs after Jerome Taylor's five-wicket haul had dismissed the home team for 357.
Lara raised his 34th Test century off 77 balls in two hours 11 minutes with a dozen delightful boundaries and five huge sixes when he pulled Shahid Nazir for two runs in the penultimate over before the lunch break.
Lara's ninth fastest century in terms of balls in Test cricket also brought him just one century behind the all-time leading centurion Sachin Tendulkar (35) of India.
Opening batsmen Chris Gayle (93) and Daren Ganga (82) both missed their centuries and were trapped leg-before-wicket (lbw) by leg-spinner Danish Kaneria (2-130) after the West Indies resumed at the overnight 151-0.
Kaneria soon came under a barrage by Lara as the master West Indies batsman unleashed some fluent boundaries -- especially on the offside of the wicket with his trademark cover drives and cut shots. Lara scored 60 runs off 29 deliveries that he faced from Kaneria.
Lara completed his half century off 48 balls with eight boundaries and two sixes -- both off Kaneria. Later the West Indies captain took 26 runs in Kaneria's 30th over of the innings that included three sixes and two fours.
The flurry of Lara boundaries forced the Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq to take the second new ball that brought immediate success.
Umar Gul had Morton (5) lbw and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, playing in his 100th Test, mistimed a pull shot off Nazir and gave a simple catch at mid-on.
Gayle added six more to his overnight 87 before he was trapped lbw by Kaneria in his second over of the day off a delivery that spun sharply into the left-hander. Gayle added 162 runs for the first wicket in four hours 10 minutes and hit 11 fours and a six in his 182-ball knock.
Ganga hammered 12 boundaries in his 251-ball knock before he too fell leg before wicket to Kaneria's sharp delivery.