Lara century spares Windies’ blushes in the face of dogged Irish attack

BRIAN LARA spared the West Indies’ blushes with a majestic century as the tourists limped to 242 all out against Ireland in Belfast.

Skipper Lara hammered the ball to all corners of the pitch in a run-a-ball hundred for the Windies who nevertheless failed to see out their 50 overs in the face of a dogged Irish attack.

Lara's 106, which was compiled off just 99 balls in a fraction over two hours, was a rare ray of sunshine for the tourists famously bowled out by the Irish for just 25 runs back in 1965.

The West Indies omitted Ramnaresh Sarwan, Ridley Jacobs and Dwayne Smith from their 15-man squad and the omens look ominous for their forthcoming series in England after they closed their first innings on tour with over three of their 50 overs remaining.

Seamer Adrian McCoubrey started the rot with two early wickets as the West Indies slumped to 40 for three early on, ending on an impressive two for 26 from his six overs.

McCoubrey removed Devon Smith before bowling Chris Gayle as the tourists failed to recover from the early run out of Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Home-grown off-spinner Andrew White took some stick as Lara and Dwayne Bravo mounted a recovery with a fourth-wicket stand of 139.

However, White took the key wicket of Lara before removing debutant Darren Sammy second ball to leave the West Indies on 206 for six and finish on two for 62.

Kyle McCallan (2-56) bowled Ricardo Powell before removing wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh, and South African medium pacer Andre Botha (3-42) helped finish off the tail as the hosts skittled the tourists' last four wickets for just 18runs.

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