Another chapter in Windies' tale of woes By Ezra Stuart
Guyana Chronicle
April 25, 2002

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad - Another chapter in the West Indies' tale of woes was written at the Queen's Park Oval on Tuesday when Carl Hooper and his beleaguered team-mates presented India with a 37-run victory on a platter in the second Cable and Wireless Test.

Set a challenging 313 runs for victory, the Windies had required an additional 182 runs when they started the last day on 131 with their two most experienced batsmen, captain Hooper, and his deputy Brian Lara at the crease.

However, the West Indies dug their own grave with most of the batsmen bringing about their demise with injudicious shots leaving Hooper "very disappointed with the result".

"I think coming into the last day here, we really fancied our chances and it was disappointing the way we sort of ended up, 30-odd runs short," Hooper told reporters after the match.

The captain said that at no stage did he give up on the West Indies getting the runs needed for victory.

"Right to the very last end, I thought that we had a chance. Thirty-odd runs is not a lot runs but you needed somebody, Shiv (Chanderpaul) maybe to take a few more chances but that's the game," Hooper noted.

West Indies' last day woes started when Lara, as he has done several times in his flourishing career, flirted at a rising delivery outside off-stump with an angled bat and diverted a catch to first slip.

Hooper followed seven runs later, softly gifting his wicket with an ill-advised pull shot to a ball, which was much too short for a cross-batted stroke.

The dismissals of Lara and Hooper in the space of ten minutes, both to the young left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra, changed the complexion of the match with India having the upper hand.

Even though Chris Gayle and Chanderpaul added 73 vital runs for the fifth-wicket, India kept their focus, and according to Hooper made the Windies fight for every run.

I thought from the outset, they would try to make runs difficult to come by and that's what they did. They bowled straight and locked up both the offside and onside," Hooper said.

The thing to do, I suppose is to capitalise on the bad balls and keep the scoreboard ticking with the singles. I think it was a bit unfortunate we lost Brian and then almost immediately after, myself.

"That set us back a whole lot and obviously put the pressure on people like Chris Gayle, who I thought played well and Shivnarine Chanderpaul," Hooper remarked.

Despite losing his second consecutive Test at the venue after the loss to South Africa last year, Hooper said he could find no fault with the pitch.

We had the knowledgeable experts predicting how it was going to play and so on but I thought we had a good Test wicket," Hooper declared.

Windies' coach Roger Harper also expressed disappointment with losing the Test and going down 1-0 in the five-match series.

"This is very disappointing. We had a similar situation here against South Africa last year and most members of the team were here and we should have learnt from that experience and unfortunately we came up short," Harper said.

"I think, you can't fault the effort. Everyone fought hard but I think we need to play a little smarter," added Harper.

Harper noted the batsmen's failure to carry on for bigger scores contributed to the Windies' inadequate totals of 245 and 275 in the Test.

"In Guyana, we managed to put a very good total on the board. One of the things we talked about there was that batsmen that got in, got starts carrying on. I think here we didn't see that," Harper noted.

Harper also zeroed in on the West Indies' bowling in the first session on the opening day after India were sent in to bat.

"I thought we definitely could've bowled a lot better in that first session. Had we done that, it may have meant India making 40, 50 less," Harper conceded.