Samuels’s innings one of the best ever, says Hooper
November 25, 2002
VIJAYAWADA, India, (Reuters) - West Indies captain Carl Hooper hailed Marlon Samuels’s 75-ball unbeaten 108 as one of the best one-day international innings ever after his team beat India by 135 runs to clinch their seven-match series yesterday.
``It was one of the best one-day innings I’ve ever seen,’’ Hooper told reporters. ``It was simply unbelievable.’’
Samuels had walked in to bat with the total 132 for three in the 27th over. He scored his first 50 runs off 51 balls but tore the India bowling apart after that to get to his maiden one-day century off just 73 deliveries.
The Jamaican struck 11 fours and five huge sixes.
``It was just an exceptional innings by Marlon, a truly great knock,’’ Hooper said. ``At 16 for two, we were aiming to get around 260-odd from 50 overs but his effort easily took us past 300.’’
West Indies finished with 315 for six and then bowled out India for a paltry 180 in 36.5 overs.
India’s stand-in skipper Rahul Dravid agreed with Hooper about the quality of the innings. ``It was one of the special knocks,’’ Dravid said.
``Samuels batted brilliantly and just stole the game away from us. At one stage we had thought we would be able to contain West Indies to around 275, but he just came out blazing. We were totally outplayed today.’’
Samuels shared in a 50-run stand for the fourth wicket with Ramnaresh Sarwan (83) and raised 109 for the fifth with Ricardo Powell, who scored a 28-ball 30.
The 21-year-old said his method had been simple.
``I just went out there and decided to play to my strengths,’’ Samuels said.
``My strength is to play straight and I just did that. I told myself that I had to keep the singles going, stay till the end and then see what I can do in the closing overs.’’
Samuels, who had scored his maiden test century in the third test at Calcutta earlier this month, celebrated his hundred by raising his arms and waving a red handkerchief given to him by Australian test captain Steve Waugh.
"Steve Waugh gave it to me in Australia,’’ he said. ``He told me all the best for the future.’’
Samuels was backed up by a fiery opening spell by paceman Jermaine Lawson, who grabbed a career best four for 57 in just his fourth one-day match.
"We told Lawson just 40 minutes before the game that he was playing, and his eyes lit up,’’ Hooper said. ``He went out there and put up his hand to be counted.’’
Hooper said Samuels’s innings had been a perfect conclusion to a one-day series which saw his team hit back after tamely losing the tests 2-0.
"It was good to see us play in the one-day series the way we did,’’ Hooper said. ``We did not give up after the test series and the youngsters in the team just took charge with some great batting. That sets us up well for the World Cup.’’
Left-hander opener Chris Gayle was named man of the series after top-scoring with 455 runs, including three centuries. Sarwan was a close second on 436.
"It’s always difficult playing against India at home and I’m thrilled to do well in the series,’’ Gayle said. ``Hope-fully I can carry on with this form.’’ West Indies now travel to Bangladesh for a test series.