Former South African speedster and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) bowling coach Dale Steyn told a fascinating tale about how the Proteas helped preserve Brian Lara’s Test record for highest individual score. Notably, Lara recently commemorated the 19th anniversary of the day in 2004 when he scored the historic stroke (400*) against England in Antigua.
Dale Steyn stated on the franchise’s YouTube channel that SRH head coach Lara was sentimental about his record innings. In July 2006, in a Test match against the Proteas, Sri Lankan legend Mahela Jayawardene was on the verge of breaking the record for most Test runs scored.
“I literally just glanced at Brian Lara and said, ‘You’re welcome. Due to South Africa, you still have your record. Mahela (Jayawardene) and Kumar Sangakkara are batting together; Sangakkara is on strike. We never had a glimpse of a wicket during that time,” Steyn said on SRH’s YouTube channel.
“At tea on the third day, we had been in the sun for two and a half days. Ashwell (Prince, the tour’s captain) and the South Africans get together, and our team discussion is not about whether we will win or lose this game. Mahela was on 370 somewhere, and we simply said, “We must do everything in our power to prevent him from breaking Brian Lara’s record,” he added.
As Jayawardene approached the 400-run mark, the Proteas managed to deliver the knockout blow, dismissing him 26 runs short.
“We emerge from the tea. Andre Nel serves as the bowler. I’ve also been fielding at mid-off for the majority of this match. I had witnessed every aspect of this contest by halftime. I believe he had reached every milestone before me. “I believe he just blocked the ball and ran to me,” Steyn stated.
“Nel raced in, dribbled the ball short, and it was halfway down the field. I primarily focused on the square limb because that was where the ball was heading the majority of the time. And for some insanely bizarre reason, this ball did not rise above ankle height, and it castled Mahela’s stumps, resulting in his dismissal for 374,” he concluded.
Jayawardene’s 374 remains the fourth-highest individual total in Test history, while Lara’s 400* still stands. Matthew Hayden’s 380-run innings against Zimbabwe in 2003 is the second-highest individual score in Test history; meanwhile, Lara, with scores of 400 and 375, appears twice in the top-four list.