Roston Chase made history with a maiden Test century to lead a magnificent rearguard by the West Indies and salvage a draw at 388 for six in their second innings on the final day of the second Test against India at Sabina Park in Jamaica on Wednesday.
In just his second Test, the 24-year-old Barbadian batted through the entire day to finish unbeaten on 137, an innings that occupied six hours during which he faced 269 balls, striking 15 fours and one six.
His outstanding effort complemented a five-wicket haul in India’s only innings, making him just the fourth West Indian and first since the legendary Sir Garfield Sobers 50 years earlier to complete the rare feat of century and a five-wicket innings haul in the same Test match.
“It’s a great feeling to help my team draw the match after falling so far behind,” said Chase after receiving the Man of the Match award. “The captain asked the players to show some fight and we just went with the mindset that we were at war and we can’t die today.”
He received excellent support from all the other middle and lower-order batsmen who featured in the protracted fightback on the last day. Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich and captain Jason Holder contributed half-centuries to a cause that seemed lost when they started the final day, with the innings in apparent ruins at 48 for four and needing to get to 304 to avoid a second innings defeat in as many matches.
India still held out hope of taking the last four wickets in the final session and chasing a modest target to win the match, but Holder’s stroke-filled unbeaten 64 in an unbroken 104-run partnership with Chase killed off their chances and the captains agreed to call off the match half an hour before the scheduled close.
“We lost most of yesterday but that’s no excuse,” said India’s disappointed captain Virat Kohli after the skippers’ handshake. “Credit to the way the West Indies played today. Our bowlers tried hard but you just have to doff your hat to them.”
Fast and furious
It was the first time in the 88-year history of the West Indies in Test cricket that batsmen from numbers four to eight in the batting order had each scored over 50 in a single Test innings.
Having put on 93 runs for the fifth wicket with Blackwood in the morning session to set the tone for the home side’s unexpected resistance, Chase found another able partner in Dowrich, the wicketkeeper-batsman stroking 74 in a 144-run sixth-wicket stand before appearing to be harshly adjudged leg-before off the bowling of leg-spinner Amit Mishra.
Mishra had come close to dismissing Dowrich earlier in the session but Ajinkya Rahane just could not hold on to a diving attempt at a catch at slip when the batsman was on 53.
As in the very first session of the match when he plundered a run-a-ball 62 four days earlier, Blackwood counter-attacked spectacularly at the start of a sun-drenched day following a soggy day four which had been limited to just 15.5 overs in which the Indians looked on course for a complete rout of the home side in the manner of their innings victory in the first Test in Antigua.
His furious 63 off 54 balls included nine fours and two sixes but came to an end via an excellent catch by Cheteshwar Pujara at forward short-leg off Ravichandran Ashwin. Such was the power of the diminutive right-hander’s shot-making that the spinner had pulled out of attempting to take a caught-and-bowled chance when the batsman was on 37.