Hooper hoping to reverse trend

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The Independent Online

Carl Hooper, the West Indies captain, wants his side to develop a killer instinct as they bid to re-establish themselves amongst the world's élite.

The West Indies, says Hooper, must take advantage of opportunities presented during Test matches, instead of allowing the opposition to slip free. And when better to begin than in the second Test against Pakistan, which starts here today.

The West Indies are looking to square the series after a 170-run loss in the first Test, their 22nd defeat in their last 26 away Tests. Surprisingly, given the comprehensiveness of the reverse, the tourists looked competitive for large periods of the first Test. But two batting collapses – from 352 for 5 to 366 all out in the first innings and from 115 for 1 to 171 all out second time around – cost them dearly.

"It's the little things and little moments we're allowing to slip from us," Hooper said. "We're just not grasping the opportunity and pressing home the advantage and it's costing us."

The West Indies also allowed Pakistan to recover from 94 for 4 on the first day to reach an imposing 493. One of the key moments that Hooper was referring to was a dropped catch that allowed Rashid Latif, then on 28, to top-score with 150 and share in a stand of 204 with Yousuf Youhana.

"These are the little things about Test cricket," Hooper said. "When you're playing against good sides, you've got to drive home the advantage when you get it or they're going to get out of it and put you under pressure.

"Obviously we want to rectify this so we can be competitive and not only draw games but look to win games."

The West Indies' hopes of levelling the two-Test series have been hit by the anticipated loss of Sherwin Campbell and Marlon Samuels for the rest of the tour. Samuels needs corrective knee surgery after an old injury flared up and will be out for up to seven weeks, while Campbell has a broken little finger and is facing 10 days on the sidelines.

Regardless of this, Hooper is confident his side can get back on level terms with Pakistan. "Even though we've lost a few Test matches in a row, we're not playing really, really poorly," he added. "I still think we can beat Pakistan."

However, Waqar Younis, seeking his sixth consecutive win as captain of Pakistan, was not convinced about the threat posed by the West Indies. Waqar believes that his new-ball partner Shoaib Akhtar – man of the match in the first Test – is likely to return a more than impressive performance. Shoaib claimed a career-best 5 for 24 as the tourists collapsed for 171 in their second innings, losing their last seven wickets for 25 runs. "Shoaib's confidence will come back even more now that he is bowling again and has had this success," Waqar added. "He will be even more devastating."

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