November 17, 2001

West Indies captain promises fightback in second Test

West Indian captain Carl Hooper admitted that his side had been beaten fair and square by Sri Lanka in Galle but promised that the team will come out fighting in the second Test starting on Wednesday.

The tourists lost to Sri Lanka by 10 wickets on Saturday despite having scored 448 in their first innings.

"We didn't play as we could have done, but I don't think we were disgraced in any way," he said. "We are disappointed we lost but we'll come out fighting again in the second Test."

"We knew it was going to be tough. They have a world-class spinner in Muttiah Muralitharan and he is going to put you under pressure.

"I was very hopeful when I saw the way Sarwan and Ganga played in the first hour. They were fairly comfortable it was unfortunate to lose Ganga and then Sarwan immediately afterwards."

West Indies were cruising at one stage on 423 for four, but following the dismissal of Brian Lara, they capitulated, losing their remaining five wickets for just 23 runs. Sri Lanka then rattled up 590 to set themselves up for victory on the final day.

"When we were 423 for four we should have made 550," said Hooper. "We allowed them back into the game and then bowled too short and wide on the first day. As a result they got away.

"We made a big effort in trying to pull them back on the third and fourth day, but we were obviously up against it."

Hooper defended the decision to play two spinners: "It was a dry wicket from day one we knew it was going to turn. Ramnarine bowled well, whilst McGarrell didn't bowl as well as he should have, but if we had to do it all again we would picked two spinners."

Muttiah Muralitharan picked up 11-169 in the match, the third time he has taken ten wickets in consecutive Tests.

"When you play against a world class bowler like Muralitharan, it's difficult to have a plan," he said. "It's not as if he has one particular strength. He bowls virtually everything: he's got a straighter ball, a flighted ball and a flat ball, so, basically, you've got to play what you see.

"We will now have a day off, before coming and working in the nets again. We will discuss where we went wrong and how we can tackle them in the second test."