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.