Lara hits back at Ponting

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> WI captain Brian Lara has responded to comments from his Australian counterpart, Ricky Ponting.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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West Indies captain Brian Lara has responded to comments from his Australian counterpart, Ricky Ponting. Ponting had criticized Lara on his decision to bat on and reach a Test-record score of 400 against England in the final Test at the Antigua Recreation Ground. Speaking at a civic reception in his honour yesterday, Lara called Ponting's comments "unfortunate." "I saw no sense to make it competitive for the English," Lara said. "I saw an opportunity that if we got in excess of seven hundred runs we would put England under tremendous pressure for the remainder of the match." "We would be able to enforce the follow-on, if that was the case, and we knew for sure that we achieved our number one goal, which was to avoid the whitewash in the series," he added. Lara, who set a world record score of 375 runs in 1994 against England at Antigua, had the record broken October last year by Australian opening batsman Matthew Hayden, who notched an innings of 380 against Zimbabwe at Sydney. The West Indies skipper hit Test cricket's first ever quadruple century over 13 hours to eclipse Hayden's total last week in West Indies' draw with England. Ponting remarks Ponting had told reporters in Australia on Monday that the fact that Lara batted so long may have cost his team a Test win. "I've read some of the reports in the paper over the last couple of days about Lara's innings," he said. "Their whole first innings might have been geared around one individual performance and they could have let a Test match slip because of it." Lara added that Ponting has his reasons for saying what he did and the Australian team can play the way it does because of its current strength. "I just want to say to Ricky Ponting that he is the leader of a great team, and of course he can afford to have situations like that, when they do present themselves, to take another course. But for the West Indies, I also thought that such an achievement can inspire the young team. We can move on from here and it can inspire our people," he added. Lara, who missed the first one-day international against England on April 18 with an injured finger on his right hand, hopes to be fit for the second and third one-dayers here on Saturday and Sunday. (AP)

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