‘He literally wasn’t playing a shot’: When Ricky Ponting’s sledge towards Brian Lara backfired

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting narrated an incident when he tried to get under the skin of Brian Lara by mouthing a few words at him, but would come to regret it later as it spurred the West Indies great to go on and play one of his finest Test innings against Australia. Ponting was on commentary with Lara during the ongoing edition of the Big Bash League when he recalled the incident.

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“We were playing a Test match in Adelaide, and he literally wasn’t playing a shot. He’d been going on for like 30-40 balls. And I said to him, ‘you’re setting the place alight today, Brian. You’re absolutely creaming them mate. You’re putting everyone to sleep,’” Ponting recalled on 7Cricket.

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The game Ponting is talking about is the third Test between Australia and West Indies in Adelaide in December of 2000. Batting first, West Indies were 3/86 when Lara joined Jimmy Adams and put up a fighting partnership of 183 runs for the fourth wicket. The partnership took almost 48 overs and Lara had begun slowly. However, Ponting’s words backfired as Lara batted on to top score with 182.

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“An hour and a half later, he was on 180 not out. And at the end of the game, he signed his shirt and wrote, ‘thanks for the inspiration. Best wishes, Brian Lara’,” Ponting added.

It was his sixth Test century against Australia and the fourth-highest against them after Sydney’s 277 in 1993, 226 in 2005 and 213 in Kingston. Lara played 31 Tests against Australia scoring 2856 runs at an average of 51 and nine centuries. It’s Lara’s second-best Test performance against any team. Against England, Lara has scored 2983 runs at an average of 62 in 30 Tests.

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