On a day yesterday that Australians were caught and relieved of a grip of terror with a hostage siege in Sydney put down by the country’s law enforcement, there was a cricket match featuring the legendary West Indies batsman Brian Lara to help calm nerves and bring the country back to a sense of normalcy.
Lara, 45 years old on May 2 this year, retired from the tough grind of the competitive game in 2007 but has always been a drawing card in guest appearance matches as was the case yesterday.
And the left-handed holder of still many records in the game stroked a typically flashy unbeaten half-century, though it failed to prevent Australian Legends from a 50-run defeat to Perth Scorchers in an exhibition Twenty20 clash.
Chasing 180 to win at Aquinas College, the Legends XI ended on 129 for five with the left-handed Lara finishing unbeaten on 51 from 50 balls.
Lara whose first Test century was a 277 innings in Australia in 1993, started slowly before easing into his rhythm, and beginning to find the boundaries with touches of his old class.
The double world-record holder was the only batsman in his star-studded side to pass 20 as Dean Jones (16), Andrew Symonds (13), Justin Langer (9) and Adam Gilchrist (1) all fell cheaply.
Despite the loss, former Test star Langer said playing in the same team as the West Indies great was satisfaction enough.
“This is so much fun,” the left-hander said. “To be on the same field as Brian Lara — I used to idolise him. Even when I played against him I loved watching him bat.”
Earlier, Ashton Turner thumped a top score of 75 from 38 balls, while Englishman Michael Carberry stroked 28, in his debut match for Scorchers ahead of the Big Bash League starting later this week.
And there are six West Indian cricketers contracted with some of the eight clubs for the competition. Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell are in the Melbourne Renegades squad, Kieron Pollard lines up with the Adelaide Strikers. Samuel Badree is in the Brisbane Heat squad, Darren Sammy in the Hobart Hurricanes line-up and Dwayne Smith is with the Sydney Sixers.