Jamaica advance despite tons from Hooper and Chanderpaul
- Griffith bags four second-innings wickets By Sean Devers in Berbice
Stabroek News
April 2, 2003

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Jamaica advanced to the final of the Carib Beer International Shield regional four-day first-class cricket tournament by gaining first innings from Guyana in their drawn semi-final clash which ended at Albion yesterday.

When the final day began with the home team on 316-4 in reply to Jamaica’s huge 486-7 declared, Guyana were depending heavily on their two test batsmen - Carl Hooper and Shivnarine Chanderpaul - to overhaul the huge Jamaican first innings score and gain them a place in their second consecutive final.

But by tea, the Guyanese, despite tons from both Hooper and Chanderpaul, were all out for 462 much to the disappointment of the large working-day crowd, which included many school children.

The Jamaicans, who depart Guyana for Barbados today for tomorrow’s final, wasted a good opportunity to get some batting practice with some irresponsible batting to end the game on 78-5 in their second innings. The game was called off at 4:PM with 11 overs remaining to be bowled before the final mandatory 15 overs began.

Urged on by the largest last day crowd so far in the competition both batsmen produced centuries. But with little support from the all-rounders on a good track for batting and lightening fast outfield, their efforts were wasted as only pacer Reon Griffith of the remaining batsmen yesterday got into double figures.

Hooper, later named the Man-of-the Match, scored an unbeaten 130, his twelfth regional first class ton while Chanderpaul made 109, his tenth century in regional first class cricket.

The test pair featured in an entertaining 135 run fifth wicket stand in hot conditions to inspire hope of a Guyana victory. But once the left-handed Chanderpaul was trapped LBW to the pacy Jermaine Lawson at 351-5, Hooper soon ran out of partners as the home team fell 25 runs short of their target.

Chanderpaul hit 130 with 15 fours from 196 balls and 262 minutes and his demise at 10:36 AM saw Vishal Nagamootoo (0 from 44 minutes of batting), Neil McGarell (1) and Mahendra Nagamootoo (8) all depart in quick succession as Guyana slipped to 391-8.

While Hooper survived a very close LBW appeal on 81 off the impressive 18-year-old Jermaine Taylor, the school boy pacer seemed lucky to gain LBW decisions against Vishal Nagamootoo and McGarell.

After Vishal and McGarrell departed in the space of 10 runs Mahendra, looking a shadow of himself this season, played a poor shot at Taylor and edged a catch to the ‘keeper Keith Hubert after hitting two boundaries off the quickie.

Griffith who scored an unbeaten 82 against the West Indies ‘B’ team this year, batted intelligently and hit four boundaries in his 24 from 34 balls and 72 minutes until he wasted his good work with a terrible shot when all he needed to do was to support his captain.

Griffith aimed a big swing at a full toss from off spinner Chris Gayle and was bowled to leave the score on 391-9 and end a promising 50 run tenth wicket stand.

Eusan Crandon (9) was then caught behind off Lawson to leave Hooper high and dry on 130, his sixty-first first class hundred.

Hooper’s magnificent ton lasted 324 minutes, 261 balls and was decorated with nine fours and an effortless six and reminded many that he is still one of the best batsmen in the West Indies at present.

Lawson picked up 3-76 while Gayle had 2-67 and Taylor, arguable the best bowler on show, 2-71 for the Jamaicans whose second innings approach was described as ‘crap’ by their captain Robert Samuels.

Griffth ended a good match by adding 4-49 from nine overs to his 3-92 in the first innings to finish the competition with 22 wickets.

The fast bowler was aided by some poor shot selection from batsmen preparing for a final.

Leon Garrick (5) was LBW to Griffith at 13-1, Chris Gayle (21) was caught behind by Vishal Nagamootoo at 48-2, Wavell Hinds (25) skied a ball high to cover at 55-3 while Marlon Samules, with no movement of his feet, was caught behind for five at 65-4.

Off spinner Narsingh Deonarine then sent back Keith Hibbert for a duck at 66-5 before Gareth Breeze (5) and David Bernard, described by his skipper after the game as the outstanding all rounder of the tournament (24 wickets and 509 runs) unbeaten on 12.

Hooper who hinted that this game could be his last for Guyana said Jamaica were allowed to score too many runs due to some faulty catching by the Guyanese.

The Guyana captain added that he was impressed by the bowling of Griffith and disclosed that his two test spinners Nagamootoo and McGarell who have been disappointing this season despite picking up 30 and 32 wickets respectively seem to be tired.

“Nagamootoo has a back injury while McGarrell has bowled long spells for Guyana this season and has a shoulder injury” Hooper said.

He said that not being retained as West Indies skipper for the Australian series was not on his mind during his innings and said he was happy to score a hundred in what might be his last match for Guyana. He quickly added that he loves cricket and still wants to play at any level and that he has not retired from any level of cricket.

The former Windies skipper says the next few weeks will determine his future and what he does with his life.

The first Test begins in Guyana on April 10 and it appears that Hooper has made himself available for selection on the region’s team.

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