Brian Lara's 501 not out: The day Warwickshire's West Indies legend rewrote cricket records

Written by on June 6, 2019

Brian Lara receives congratulations after his world record 501 not out at Edgbaston, 6 June 1994
            </figure><p class="sp-story-body__introduction">At a time when bat dominates ball, switch-hits and scoop-shots are commonplace and teams regularly rack up eye-watering totals, there is one 25-year-old record that has stood the test of time.</p>

On Tuesday, 6 June 1994, Brian Lara struck the highest score ever made in first-class cricket for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston.

It is a record that has remained ever since and will most likely last a lot longer than that, possibly forever.

But the West Indian batting legend’s unforgettable summer of runs in Birmingham – and various other English cricket grounds – might so nearly have never happened at all.

The summer of 1994 was an memorable one for the Bears. With Lara’s assistance, Warwickshire became the first English county to win a domestic treble of trophies – County Championship, Benson & Hedges Cup and Sunday League.

They might even have won a fourth, too, only for the Bears to be beaten in the NatWest Trophy final by their old enemies Worcestershire, who they had beaten in the first Lord’s final of the summer two months earlier.

But what turned out to be trophy-laden summer of Lara, lager and laughter seemed a long, long way off in mid-April.

How did the Bears sign Brian Lara?

While the Bears were on their pre-season tour of Zimbabwe, the then relatively little-known Lara was back home in the Caribbean playing for West Indies against England.

He went into that series having previously made just one Test century in 11 matches, although that was a pretty prodigious 277 against Australia at the SCG 15 months earlier.

He then hit 167 in the second Test at Georgetown as the Windies clocked up an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series – and that was enough to tempt Warwickshire into offering him a deal.

“We got him for £40,000,” recalls Warwickshire chief executive Dennis Amiss. “A week later, it would have cost us £100,000.”

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