Brian Lara Graces Cricket Pitch to Raise Money for Australia Wildfires

MEL­BOURNE, Australia – West In­dies leg­end Bri­an Lara rolled back the years with a sparkling knock to head­line the star-stud­ded Aus­tralian bush­fire re­lief char­i­ty match, as or­gan­is­ers raised AUS$7.7 mil­lion (US$5 mil­lion) from the event in Aus­tralia on Sun­day, February 9.

The left-hand­ed Lara, one of the great­est bats­men to have played the game be­fore re­tir­ing 13 years ago, re­mind­ed fans of his seem­ing­ly ever-present class with a stroke-filled 30 in Ricky Ponting XI’s 104 for five off their al­lot­ted 10 overs.

Ponting, a suc­cess­ful for­mer Aus­tralia cap­tain, hit 26.

The 50-year-old Lara ex­ud­ed the style which brought him 11 953 runs in 131 Tests, un­veil­ing a se­ries of loft­ed dri­ves and straight hits which brought him two six­es and fours.

He, like Ponting, all re­tired their in­nings to al­low oth­er bats­men a turn at the crease.

Ponting’s XI al­so fea­tured the likes of for­mer Test stars Matthew Hay­den, Brad Haddin and Wasim Akram.

In re­ply, Adam Gilchrist’s XI came up just short with 103 for six off their 10 overs, with for­mer Aussie Test stars Shane Wat­son blast­ing a nine-ball 30 and An­drew Symonds chip­ping in with 29.

Speed­ster Brett Lee snatched two for 11.

For­mer fast bowler Court­ney Walsh, who holds the West In­dies record for the most wick­ets in Tests, al­so fea­tured for the Gilchrist XI.

Since last Sep­tem­ber, bush­fires across most­ly east­ern Aus­tralia have killed 33 peo­ple and de­stroyed near­ly 28 acres of bush, forests and parks, and al­so leav­ing thou­sands home­less.

CMC

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