Hapless Indians sent on a Caribbean leather hunt

Published: Saturday, April 13, 2002, 23:59 [IST]
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Georgetown (Guyana): West Indies skipper Carl Hooper and Shivnarine Chanderpaul hammered their career-best scores in a record stand to flay the Indian attack in the first Test on Friday. Hooper smashed a sparkling 233 for his maiden Test double-century, while Chanderpaul made 140 as the West Indies batted aggressively to reach 494 for seven when bad light stopped play with 21.3 overs to go on the second day. The West Indies captain and Chanderpaul reminded the tourists that all was not well with their bowling with a 293-run stand, the West Indies' highest for the fifth wicket in 71 Tests against India. The previous best was of 219 between Everton Weekes and Bruce Pairaudeau at Port-of- Spain in 1952-53. It was also the biggest fifth-wicket partnership against India in Tests after the 254 put on by Englishmen Keith Fletcher and Tony Greig at Bombay. It was an ordeal in the field for the Indians as neither seamers nor spinners could put pressure on free-stroking Hooper and Chanderpaul. Hooper cracked three sixes and 29 fours in his 413-ball knock to surpass his previous best of 178 not out against Pakistan at Antigua in 1992-93. He reached his double-century with a four off spinner Sharandeep Singh just before tea. He was the last man out, swinging leg spinner Anil Kumble to deep square leg where Sharandeep brought off a diving catch. The left-handed Chanderpaul also matched his skipper as he bettered his previous highest of 137 not out against Sachin Tendulkar's Indians at Bridgetown in 1996-97. He also completed 3,000 runs during his attractive third Test century, smashing 23 fours in his 292-ball knock before being trapped leg-before by left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan in the post-lunch session. A capacity crowd at Bourda enjoyed the run-feast on a batting wicket as Hooper and Chanderpaul reduced the Indian bowlers and fielders to a state of helplessness with a wide range of attacking shots. The hosts scored 91 in the morning session after having resumed at 270 for four and 93 in the afternoon. India failed to make the most of the two chances that came their way to break the fifth-wicket stand. The first came in the morning session when Chanderpaul edged Kumble on 94, but lone- slip Venkatsai Laxman reacted late as the ball went past his outstretched hand for a four. He was on 118 when he survived a run-out chance. He collided with bowler Sachin Tendulkar while going for a single and lost his bat in the process, but dived full- length to beat a Saurav Ganguly throw to the wicket-keeper. Throughout the day the Indian bowlers often erred in line and length and found it difficult to contain runs. Srinath was not as effective as he was on Thursday, when he rocked the hosts with three quick wickets in his lively opening spell. Zaheer bagged two of the three wickets that fell in the day, but not before Hooper and Chanderpaul had put their team in a position of strength. Key Indian spinner Kumble was punished by both Hooper and Chanderpaul, conceding 140 off 43 overs for one wicket. Sharandeep went wicketless, while Bangar disappointed as a third seamer as he gave away 61.

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