Kingston: Rookie batsman Roston Chase conjured up a heroic maiden Test century to lead a remarkable West Indies fightback as the hosts forced a frustrating draw on India on the final day of the second match, here Wednesday.
Chase, playing only his second Test match, came up with a resolute 137 off 269 balls and in the process raised three match-saving partnerships with his teammates.
The 24-year-old batsman batted through the day and became only the fourth West Indies player to score a hundred and claim a five-wicket haul in same match. He had returned figures of five for 121 in India’s first innings.
Chase joined three illustrious West Indies names — Sir Garfiled Sobers, Collie Smith and Dennis Atkinson — on the list of Caribbean players, who achieved the feat in the past.
West Indies began the day at a pitiable 48 for four but lost only two wickets in the entire fifth day, scuppering India’s ambitions to take a 2-0 lead in the four-match series.
Chase joined overnight batsman Jermaine Blackwood (63) at the start of play in the morning and raised a 93-run stand for the fifth wicket to deny India much success.
As sun shone bright and sunny, the wicket eased out a lot and hardly offered any assistance to the Indian bowlers.
Chase then weaved a 144-run partnership with next-man in Shane Dowrich (74), who became a victim of umpire Ian Gould’s misjudgement on an LBW appeal by R Ashwin.
After Dowrich’s dismissal, skipper Jason Holder joined his junior colleague and provided him tremendous support by hitting a fighting unbeaten 64, putting together a 103-run stand for the unconquered seventh wicket.
Chase’s knock had 15 shots to the fence and one over the ropes while holder struck eight fours and six.
Only 29 overs remained in the last session of the match to be bowled as India looked to make use of the new ball. But they were never happy with the proceedings, complaining often to the umpires about the shape of the ball, even though the ball wasn’t changed.
Chase and Holder were helped in their endeavour by the Indian pacers, in particular Ishant Sharma (1/56) who bowled short and wide repeatedly.
The spinners couldn’t get much purchase from the pitch either, which was shorn of day five characteristics and the batsmen did not have much difficulty in negotiation the Indian bowling.
The two teams shook hands with 35 minutes left before the scheduled close of play.
India lead the series 1-0 and the third Test is scheduled to begin on August 9 at Gros Islet.
Post-lunch, Chase and Dowrich looked to bat on for time, but they were not subdued. They looked to attack the Indian bowlers who erred in line and length.
First up, Dowrich reached his third Test fifty off 78 balls and in doing so brought up the 100-partnership with Chase off 162 balls. The West Indies’ 250-mark also came up within an hour’s play, in the 54th over.
However, Dowrich was given out LBW after the break by umpire Ian Gould off Amit Mishra (2-85), despite the fact that he had an inside-edge. The batsman left shaking his head, but Chase made good on his promise, and duly reached his maiden Test hundred off 175 balls.
He had skipper Holder for company, and by tea time the two weren’t looking uncomfortable at the crease at all as the West Indies crossed the 300-mark in the 79th over.
India did take the new ball immediately after the 80th over, but that too didn’t provide them any breakthroughs, as the hosts negated the lead and went ahead thereafter. There are now 29 overs remaining in the match, for the visitors to force a result.
Starting at overnight 48 for four, Chase and Blackwood came out with a plan to defy the Indian bowlers. There had been no rain since play on day four had been called off and not a cloud was in sight today.
The visitors started off with Shami and Amit Mishra but Blackwood attacked them both and hit them out of the attack.
Ishant and Umesh Yadav (0/44) were then deployed, but Blackwood continued attacking them too. The former bowled a bit wider outside of the off-stump in a bid to keep things tight, while Yadav used the short-ball approach against him.
It didn’t work as Blackwood smacked his second fifty in the Test off only 41 balls, bringing it up in the 31st over as 79 runs came in the first hour’s play. West Indies also crossed the 100-mark earlier in the 25th over.
The duo put 50 off just 54 balls and it seemed as if for once the hosts batting would come good. Ashwin then was finally introduced into the attack in the 28th over of the innings, with skipper Virat Kohli opting to hold him back earlier in the session.
Blackwood hit a straight six in his second over but Ashwin got his revenge as he squeezed the batsman for runs bowling from round the wicket. The plan worked and Cheteshwar Pujara too a brilliant diving catch at forward short leg in the 34th over to send Blackwood back to the pavilion.
Chase was then joined in by Dowrich (59 balls, 2 fours), and the two overcame some miscommunication early in the innings to defy the Indian bowling further. After taking his maiden five-wicket haul earlier in the match, Chase then reached his maiden Test fifty off 84 balls and opened up to play some attacking strokes against Mishra, who bowled a predominantly leg-stump line.
The Indian bowling didn’t really trouble the duo as they brought up the 50-partnership off 82 balls, and the 200-mark came up for the West Indies in the 50th over. Yadav and Shami did get the ball to reverse later in the session, but couldn’t get another success before the lunch break as the two batsmen looked comfortable at the crease.