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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lara Smites 501, Smashes Records

BIRMINGHAM, England -- West Indian batsman Brian Lara's majestic reign took cricket to new heights when he became the first player to score 500 runs in a first-class innings. Lara, who set a Test cricket record for a single innings in April, continued his unprecedented assault on cricket history Monday with 501 not out for Warwickshire in its county championship match against Durham at Edgbaston. He only needed eight hours and 427 balls to break the old record of 499. The 25-year-old Trinidadian humbly insisted afterward: "I don't think I'm a great cricketer. I've still got a lot of cricket ahead of me and I need to be more consistent." There were only two deliveries remaining in the match when Lara faced up to bowler John Morris with his score on 497. Off the next ball he made the half-thousand, crashing the delivery through extra cover for his 62nd four, on top of 10 sixes. Lara was embraced by teammate Keith Piper, congratulated by every Durham player and cheered off the field by a crowd that had steadily swelled from an early morning 400 to 1,500. The left-hander was not aware how close he came to missing the milestone. "I didn't realize we were in the last over until four balls had been bowled," Lara said. "Keith came up to me and said there were only two deliveries left." Along the way to his record, Lara broke more than a dozen other team, English and world marks. ?At 100 (reached on Friday), Lara became the first player to make seven centuries in eight innings. ?At 306, he passed the previous highest individual score for Warwickshire, made by Frank Foster against Worcester at Dudley in 1914. ?At 325, he reached 1,000 runs for the English season in a record seven innings. ?At 406, he made the highest score in England this century, passing Graeme Hick's 405 not out for Worcestershire against Somerset at Taunton in 1988. ?At 425, he became the holder of the record for the highest first-class score in England when he passed Archie McLaren's 424 for Lancashire against Somerset at Taunton in 1895. ?At 457, he had scored 346 runs in the day to beat the world record for the best-ever one day's total of 345 by Charlie Macartney for the Australians against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 1921. ?At 500, he overhauled Hanif Mohammad's 499 for Karachi against Bahawalpur in 1958-59. As if it mattered, the game ended in a draw. Warwickshire immediately declared with its staggering first-innings total of 810 for four in reply to Durham's 556 for eight declared. Lara started the day on 111, hitting 174 off 119 balls in the first session to go into lunch on 285. His triple century was the first scored at Edgbaston. "He was worried at lunchtime that I might declare," Warwickshire captain Dermot Reeve said. "He was thinking about the world record even then, although he was only on 285. That shows the confidence of the man. I told him not to worry -- as long as he was still there we would keep batting." Lara came close to dismissal just once, when Durham wicket keeper Chris Scott dropped him on Friday when his tally was only 18. Lara's milestone came 50 days after he set a record Test score of 375 against England in Antigua, breaking Gary Sobers' mark of 365. While the cricket world marveled at Lara's latest feat, it apparently came as no surprise to his 63-year-old mother Pearl in Trinidad. The mother of 11 children and 21 grandchildren, Pearl said her only regret was that his father Bunty, who died in 1989, was not around to see his performance and share in the happiness. n Hanif Mohammad, whose record Lara smashed, says the secret of Brian Lara's success is all down to his size. Hanif, known as Pakistan's "little master," said after his record had fallen: "It's all in the height, I believe. Lara is very short and many other short test players have scored lots of runs." (AP, Reuters)