Hooper cracks century
By Marlon Fernandopulle
West Indies skipper Carl Hooper stroked a fluent century to help the tourists
to compile a formidable 334 for 7 wickets against Sri Lanka 'A' at the
end of the first day's play at the NCC grounds yesterday.
It was the ideal start for Carl Hooper's West Indians who shrugged off
any signs of a jet-lag and sent the young Lankan hopefuls on a leather
hunt.The tourists who were surprisingly put into bat by Sri Lanka 'A' captain
Hashan Tilakaratne lost opener Darren Ganga in the very first over to Ravindra
Pushpakumara. However left hander Chris Gayle gave the Windies a whirlwind
start smacking six boundaries and a six ,scoring 41 in 26 balls before
Pushpakumara broke through his defence.Soon after medium pacer Gayan Wijekoon
snapped up Sarwan caught at short leg by Ian Daniel and the Windies slipped
to 53 for 3.
At this stage skipper Carl Hooper strode in to join Brian Lara in the
middle.Lara who was the centre of attraction to the small crowd that had
gathered at the NCC showed no signs of any hamstring injury although he
took some time to get the measure of the wicket. The stylish left hander
with his characteristic high bat lift showed a glimpse of his true potential
when he elegantly stroked a couple of boundaries on the off side.
Hooper on the other hand played with ease on both sides of the wicket
using his wrists and playing off his toes very elegantly.The
34-year-old who came out of retirement to captain the West Indies added
129 runs with Lara for the fourth wicket as the Lankan bowlers toiled hard
for a breakthrough.Once again it was Pushpakumara who picked up the prize
scalp of Lara caught at second slip by Michael Van dort.
Skipper Hooper who completed his century in 119 balls stroking seven
boundaries and four sixes added a further 93 runs with Marlon Samuels(54)
as the West Indies were 275 /4 and heading for a huge total.But with the
departure of Hooper and Samuels in quick succession the Lankans came back
in the last session to reduce the tourist to 334 for 7 before bad light
stopped play with 10 overs remaining