More landmarks for Hooper, Chanderpaul

Haydn Gill

May 5, 2002

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It's beginning to look a lot like Hooper and Chanderpaul.

For the second time in three matches, the two Guyanese featured in a mammoth partnership in which both batsmen completed centuries and other landmarks.

At 11:22 a.m. yesterday, Carl Hooper arrived at his 12th Test century and first at Kensington Oval to the delight of his adoring fans.

Fifteen minutes later, Shivnarine Chanderpaul reached his fourth hundred in Tests, his second on the ground and his third against India.

Their fifth-wicket stand of 215 went a long way in helping the West Indies build an impregnable lead of 292 that has left India under pressure to avoid defeat in the third Cable & Wireless Test.

However, neither Hooper nor Chanderpaul want to read too much into the personal landmarks which have continued from the first Test at Bourda where they added a record 293.

In the process of this innings, Hooper passed 400 runs for the first time in the series, made two hundreds for the first time in a series and is nicely pushing up his batting average since coming out of retirement a year ago.

I am not one for figures. I always say that figures sometimes really do not tell the true tale, the West Indies captain said.

I just want to do the best that I possibly can. If it means that the average has jumped, it does. If it means that it remains the same place, so be it.

When he reached his first Test century in his native Guyana three weeks ago, he said it was a moment he had waited 15 years for. This one did not carry as much significance, even though thousands of Barbadians have long conferred a knighthood on him.

This one is different. Home is home at the end of the day. There is nothing like scoring a hundred in front of your home crowd, he said.

I'm not Barbadian, even though I have got a lot of supporters here. It is good to score a hundred in Barbados, but if you ask me if this was just as special as the one in Guyana, [the answer is] no.

Chanderpaul, his place in the side seemingly tenuous at the start of the series, has been a new player of late, batting with supreme authority, especially at the start of his innings.

When asked what had brought about the recent turnaround, he said: I thank God for that.

He never once felt there was a need to worry about his place, in spite of impressive claims staked by Ryan Hinds.

I don't worry about what people say. Whenever the day comes for me to play, I just go out there and do what I have to do, Chanderpaul said.

He too, said there was nothing special about Kensington or the Indians.

It's just that I am happy to get runs whenever I can and wherever I can, he said.

With India trailing by 123 runs and with six wickets in hand, West Indies are overwhelming favourites to win the match and level the series 1-1, but Hooper does not want to count the chickens before they are hatched.

It's never over until it is over. Obviously, we want to remove them as early as possible, but this is a game of cricket and you've got to be prepared for anything. Who knows? They may come out tomorrow [today] and bat the whole day. We've got to keep working. We can't take it for granted that this is already in the bag, Hooper said.

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© The Barbados Nation

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