Roston Chase tackled the spinners with precision on Day 5 of the second Test © AFP
Roston Chase tackled the spinners with precision on Day 5 of the second Test © AFP

Roston Chase played a characteristic knock for West Indies in the second innings of the second Test at Sabina Park. In fact, Chase did what Kusal Mendis did for Sri Lanka against Australia, inspiring his team through tough times. He stepped up when West Indies batsmen found it tough to find their feet. He batted like an experienced campaigner, with grit and resilience. Many even said that Chase pulled off a Sir Garry Sobers-like innings. Given the circumstances, this statement does seem to be an exaggeration. Chase’s innings not only saved West Indies from a humiliating loss but also boosted his team’s morale. Moreover, Chase’s First-Class cricket of 44.04 is highly commendable. However, he equally helped in the bowling department, claiming as many as 5 wickets in first innings. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs West Indies 2016, 2nd Test at Kingston

6’4” tall Chase looks a bit lazy while batting, but that is just an illusion he uses to hide the batting talent he possesses. It is even fair to say that his batting style is unique. He does not take the back seat when the bowlers are attacking, and runs hard between the wickets.

While everyone praised him for the magic he displayed with the bat on final day of the Test, everyone brushed aside the fact that he took a 5-wicket haul in first innings when Indian batsmen were looking to pile on runs on Day 3. As the talk of the town suggested West Indies are not to be considered a serious contender in Test cricket, Chase shut all the critics with his superior performance.

West Indies were struggling at 4 for 48 after losing Kraigg Brathwaite, Rajendra Chandrika, Marlon Samuels and Darren Bravo. It was a common perception that only rain can keep India at bay from winning the Test match, and it exactly turned out to be that day, as only 15.5 over were bowled on Day 4.

Many speculated if Day 5 gets underway, West Indies might lose another Test by an innings and few runs. But surprisingly, Chase had some other plans. He played with grit, forming partnerships with Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich and Jason Holder. ALSO READ: Roston Chase, Kusal Mendis provide West Indies and Sri Lanka peek into the future

In-form bowler Ravichandran Ashwin was introduced into the attack. The decision paid off as Blackwood’s usual strategy of counterattacking came to an end. By this time, Chase reached 29 runs off 50 balls. Next batsman was Shane Dowrich.  ALSO READ: India vs West Indies 2nd Test: Roston Chase 1st West Indies cricketer after Sir Garry Sobers to take 5-for and score century in a Test in 50 years

Chase built another partnership with Dowrich, as he played with caution, picking up an occasional boundary. On second ball of 50th over trying to sweep Ashwin’s length delivery towards leg side but instead felicitated a top edge which went over short-leg fielder. Chase breathed a sigh of relief.

As Chase-Dowrich carried on with the partnership, innings loss looked less likely. There were a few hiccups in between and the hosts almost got rid of the trail. They suffered a few hiccups in between, as Dowrich almost gave his wicket away to Amit Mishra and Chase surviving a scare from Ashwin.  Before Dowrich got out, West Indies were trailing by just 20 runs. Chase and Dowrich had shared a partnership of 144 runs before the latter’s dismissal. Next to come in was skipper Jason Holder. Amidst this India hoped for a comeback in the final stages of Day 5.

Dowrich had left Chase when he was just one run shy from scoring his maiden century. But Chase had to go on, the task was still not over, he was still to prove everyone why he was selected over others in West Indies Test team. Chase soon completed his hundred and saluted the crowd, this century was a well-deserved one. With this performance he reached an elite club which has featured legends like Sir Gary Sobers, Imran Khan, Ian Botham. the list which has featured all-rounders scoring a century and a 5 wicket-haul.

Chase’s fighting knock had boosted the morale of Holder. The West Indies camp had now hope in them as they were headed for a draw in second Test. But, Chase’s task was not over yet. He had to hold on to his end and keep his wicket intact. Holder scored 13 in the first innings and the it did not assure the batsmen at the under end. With one session left in last day’s play, the second Test was still open for two results for West Indies — a draw or a loss.

Chase had adapted to spin-bowling very well by now as the faced Ashwin and Mishra at a long stretch. Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma were brought into the attack for the last session as Kohli hoped for a breakthrough. They were able to beet both the batsmen for a while but did not succeed in taking a wicket.

Ashwin and Mishra came back into the attack to try and get the wickets for one last time but could not succeed in sending a single batsman back to the pavilion.

As the game came to an end Chase had saved West Indies from the jaws of the defeat. He did not only save West Indies from a humiliating loss but also kept the tournament alive for the hosts and forced the opposition to devise strategies for the next Test. With his performance with both bat and ball he gave West Indies a glimmer of hope to his team in keeping their chances to win Test series against India and turn the tables.

(Arun Rawal, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a daydreamer, movie buff, and cricket fanatic. He could not play cricket, so did the next best thing, writing for it. He loves to play the flick shot over square leg, and believes Sachin Tendulkar is God. His Twitter handle is @ArunRawal93)