"Sir Carl" was spectacular

by Matt Falloon
Stabroek News
February 4, 2001

Art, they say imitates life but yesterday, Carl Hooper, through the artistry of his batting brought a crowd of over 5000 persons to life with a breathtaking second Busta Cup century, his first on home soil.

Hooper's chanceless ton, a belligerent 75 from `young gun' Ramnaresh Sarwan and an accomplished 58 from Travis Dowlin, helped put Guyana firmly on top of the twin-island republic at the close of the second day.

On a day totally dominated by the Guyanese (they lost only three wickets in the entire day's play whilst accumulating 239 runs) Hooper's exquisite batting for which he is famous, placed him head and shoulders above everyone else.

Hooper blazed to his first half-century in just 66 minutes from 57 balls with five fours and two sixes. His second half century took longer 75 balls, 128 minutes and four more fours. At stumps he was unbeaten on 117, his eighth regional century which is so far decorated with three sixes and 11 fours from 155 balls in 218 minutes. His partner in a sixth wicket stand of 86 in 123 minutes, Neil Mc Garrell fell to the final delivery of the day for 29 which included three fours and came off 88 balls.

Sarwan and Dowlin began the day on 36 and 10 respectively with Guyana still 32 runs away from first innings points. The two piloted the locals through the choppy, unpredictable first session scoring 32 runs in the first hour and taking the score to 130-3 at lunch.

Sarwan, who was the more aggressive of the two, with Dowlin the perfect foil, reached his half century in 152 minutes, from 125 balls with six fours.

At lunch he was 71 and Dowlin 29.

The two had put on 95 runs for the fourth wicket in 218 minutes from 59 overs before Sarwan appeared to lose concentration and was LBW to the persevering Darrell Brown after batting for 266 minutes and facing 216 balls.

Hooper entered to rapturous applause and immediately stamped his authority.

Dinanath Ramnarine had taken 27 wickets before this game, but Hooper seemed unconcerned by the statistic, smashing the second delivery he received from the leg-spinner back overhead for his first six and immediately forcing the Trinidad fielders on the defensive.

Dowlin whose innings was characterized by a mixture of aggressive shots and stubborn defence played a scorching cover drive off Ramnarine to move to 49 and also flicked Brown fox six over midwicket.

Soon after Hooper reached 400 runs for the season with a single of Rajindra Dhanraj.

He then upped the tempo by hitting Ramnarine for another six over extra cover, forcing Trinidad skipper Ragoonath to pull the leg spinner out of the attack, replacing him with off-spinner Mukesh Persaud.

Nor was Dhanraj spared. Hooper swept him through midwicket for six and two balls later drove him all along the ground for four.

Hooper sped to 50 by lofting Persaud over midwicket and at tea was on 63 with Dowlin 58 and Guyana 227-4.

Dowlin fell in the first over after tea coming down the pitch to Persaud but finding Dennis Rampersaud at mid-on. He essentially held the middle-order together with his partnerships with Sarwan and Hooper with whom he added 84 for the fifth wicket.

Dowlin's 58 came from 243 balls, in 313 minutes with two fours and one six.

Thereafter the momentum slowed somewhat with Hooper content to take the singles and occasionally playing delicate leg side shots for twos.

Mc Garrell after a slow start soon began putting away the bad balls before Hooper on 90 exploded with consecutive boundaries off Browne to race to 98. When he lofted Persaud for four to reach three figures there was a mini invasion of placard bearing fans and small children before the police got things under control.

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