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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 April, 2004, 08:59 GMT 09:59 UK
Lara defends record knock
R Ponting
I've read about Lara's innings... They could have let a Test match slip
Ricky Ponting
West Indies captain Brian Lara has defended his world record innings of 400 not out after critical comments from Australian skipper Ricky Ponting.

He claimed Lara may have cost his side victory over England in Antigua by batting for so long.

But Lara said his side's main goal had been to avoid losing the series 4-0.

"Ponting is the leader of a great team and can afford, if situations like that present themselves, to take another course."

He added: "I saw no sense in making it competitive for the English.

"I saw an opportunity that if we got in excess of 700 runs, we would put England under tremendous pressure for the remainder of the match.

"We would be able to enforce the follow-on, if that was the case, and would know for sure that we achieved our number our goal, which was to avoid the whitewash in the series."

Australian Matthew Hayden was the previous holder of the record after hitting 380 against Zimbabwe last year.

Ponting said then captain Steve Waugh's decision to let Hayden keep batting, in an effort to break Lara's previous record of 375, was the exception to a team rule.

Their main focus is normally to win the game and Ponting does not expect any of his batsmen to top Lara's latest feat.

"It's hard to imagine an Australian player doing it, just because of the way we play our cricket. It's generally not the way we play."

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