December 3, 2001

Carl Hooper hopes young side learn from Sri Lankan disaster

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Captain Carl Hooper paid tribute to Sri Lanka after their three-nil drumming and hoped that his inexperienced side would learn from the humbling experience.

"Like I was after the first two Test matches, I am very disappointed," he said. "At the end of the day we tried our best but didn't achieve the desired result.

"I think they played well this series. They have got some class acts and some good exciting players - just like we have - it's just unfortunate that we weren't able to put them under pressure, as I would liked to have seen how they responded."

"I have not seen a lot of Chaminda Vaas but after showing us a little bit of reverse swing in the first two Tests he really put his hand up here and bowled well. He's obviously learnt over the years and even though the wickets are flat he can certainly swing it. We have a lot of respect for him and we can learn from him."

But West Indies problem was not just with the batting, but also with the bowling, which looked utterly impotent at times, as Sri Lanka piled up scores of 590 for nine in Galle and 627 for nine.

"We were not as penetrative as we needed to be in the bowling department and I am concerned with the manner in which Sri Lanka were able to put up huge totals fairly comfortably.

"Brian Lara scored heavily and Ramnaresh Sarwan looked good but we needed some of the other batters to chip in with three-figure scores."

Questioned as to the poor performance of the openers, he said: "The quality of the opposition had something to do with it. I think Vaas worked out Chris (Gayle) early on and I think he should become a better player for it. Daren (Ganga), after getting a few starts, has struggled little bit. But I am optimistic that they can come good for us."

But Hooper had nothing but praise of Brian Lara who scored 688 runs in the series, including three centuries, and with some help from Ramnaresh Sarwan had consistently resisted the Sri Lankan bowlers.

"There has been a lot said in the Caribbean about Brian (Lara) being past his best but he is very important to this team and he was the difference between the Test matches lasting five days rather than three. We hope his form continues and that some of the other batters can stick with him.