Hooper downplays first Test century on home soil By Donovan Matthews
Guyana Chronicle
April 12, 2002

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EVEN though admitting he’s waited 15 years for it, West Indies captain Carl Hooper has downplayed his first Test century at his home ground, the Georgetown Cricket Club’s Bourda.

After rattling up an unbeaten 108 in the West Indies’ 270 for four, Hooper said the team situation was more important.

“Obviously the team comes first. We were in a bit of bother at 44 for three and someone had to step up. That someone turned out to be, and hopefully I can go on to get a much bigger score tomorrow (today).”

The home team lost the returning Stuart Williams, Chris Gayle and Brian Lara (in his first game since fracturing his left arm in Sri Lanka) to fast bowler Javagal Srinath, before Hooper and Sarwan (53) added 113 for the fourth wicket. The captain also posted an unbroken 113 for the fifth wicket with Shivnarine Chanderpaul who is 57 not out.

“We could easily have been 150 all out, and hopefully we won’t have many more starts like this, but I keep saying we’re making progress as a team. Today is just an indication that this team will be fighting tooth and nail for positive results.”

The captain not only talked the talk but also walked the walk, belting 14 fours and a six off leg-spinner Anil Kumble to move to 96.

After completing his third successive first-class century, following his 222 and 149 not out in the Busta Series, Hooper admitted that he was in a bit of a purple patch.

“It’s a bit of a patch for me, but I’ve been through this before. The only difference now is rather than getting 60s and 70s, I’m now turning those scores into three figures. It’s a lesson I’ve learnt pretty late, but it’s better late than never.”

Hooper said that Srinath apart, he didn’t think the Indians bowled well today.

“The Indians were disciplined in the bowling but I think they faded in the final session with myself and Shivnarine batting well.”

“Srinath set us back with his three quick wickets, but I don’t think (Anil) Kumble bowled as well as he could have and the off-spinner (Sharandeep Singh) didn’t turn the ball too much.”

Hooper said his team would like to get at least 500 and put some pressure on the visitors.

“It’s very important that we build partnerships and it’s important that we continue in this vein, build a big score and put some pressure on the Indians. Tomorrow is another day. They’d love to come back at us so we’ve got to be prepared to battle it out in the first session.”