Two months on from breaking the world Test record with a score of 375 against England in Antigua, West Indian star Brian Lara delved into his reserves of genius again on June 6, 1994.
In a drawn match against Durham at Edgbaston the Caribbean superstar made a staggering 501 not out – the highest first-class score in the long history of the game and one that appears highly unlikely to be bettered.
Lara spent the best part of two days watching others have their fill, with visiting batsman John Morris piling on 204 in the first innings before finally getting his chance on an obliging surface.
After a couple of false starts – he was was bowled off a no-ball by Anderson Cummins and dropped by wicketkeeper Chris Scott before reaching 20 – he reached stumps on day two with an unbeaten 111.
The game then paused for 48 hours – one day for rain, one a scheduled rest day – removing any chance of a result. With that aspect settled, Lara decided to take matters into his own inimitable hands on the final day.
He hammered another 174 runs before lunch and never looked back. In all he faced 427 deliveries, with 62 fours and 10 sixes. A knock that had began in front of near empty stands had attracted a considerable walk-up crowd as word of Lara’s assault spread in Birmingham.
He was put down on 238 and 418 – the latter by his own team-mate Michael Burns, fielding as a favour with Durham suffering depleted numbers. He was drained by the end, comically hit on the helmet in the final over of the day by the occasional seam of Morris.
Informed by his partner, Keith Piper, that it was the final over of the day and that he had just two balls to convert his score of 497 into a historic quintuple century, Lara promptly lashed Morris to the cover boundary.