Cricket: Hooper holds the balance

West Indies 94-5 v Sri Lanka
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The Independent Online
Sri Lanka's bowlers spoiled the celebrations as the West Indies inaugurated the world's newest Test match venue at the picturesque Arnos Vale ground yesterday. Their captain, Arjuna Ranatunga, read the hard pitch correctly when he won the toss. He chose to bowl and by lunch Sri Lanka had reduced the West Indies to 94 for 5.

The early damage was created by the two lively new ball bowlers, Ravindra Pushpakumara and the left arm Sajeewa de Silva, and enforced by the off spinners Kumara Dharmasena and Muttiah Muralitharan.

Pushpakumara struck twice with successive balls in the second Test's opening over, inducing a gloved hook from Stuart Williams and producing a perfect in-cutter to trap Floyd Reifer leg-before wicket.

The crowd were stunned into silence when De Silva took a comfortable return catch in the following over to account for Brian Lara and leave the West Indies 5 for 3. Lara, out for nought and four in the first Test, managed only a single, his faltering form compounded by the fine of half his match fee imposed when he turned up late prior to the first Test.

When the fast bowlers were removed, Dharmasena dismissed Sherwin Campbell to a slip catch with his first ball and, after Carl Hooper dominated a stand of 58 with Roland Holder, Muralitharan accounted for Holder 10 minutes before lunch to a close catch off bat and pad. Hooper, with seven elegant fours, was unbeaten on 50 at the break and everything for the home team depended on him.

First day; Sri Lanka won toss

WEST INDIES - First Innings

S L Campbell c Mahanama b Dharmasena 20

S C Williams c Kaluwitharana b Pushpakumara 0

F L Reifer lbw b Pushpakumara 0

B C Lara c and b S C de Silva 1

C L Hooper not out 50

R I Holder c Atapattu b Muralitharan 16

I R Bishop not out 2

Extras (b3, nb2) 5

Total (for 5, 26 overs) 94

Fall: 1-2, 2-2, 3-5, 4-34, 5-92.

To bat: C O Browne, C E L Ambrose, F A Rose, *C A Walsh.

Bowling: S C de Silva 9-2-30-1; Pushpakumara 8-1-29-2; Dharmasena 6-0- 25-1; Muralitharan 3-0-7-1.

SRI LANKA: S T Jayasuriya, R S Mahanama, M S Atapattu, P A de Silva, *A Ranatunga, R S Kaluwitharana, S Ranatunga, H D P K Dharmasena, K P Pushpakumara, S C de Silva, M Muralitharan.

Umpires: S A Bucknor (West Indies) and D B Cowie (New Zealand). Match referee: Talat Ali (Pakistan).