Batsman Roston Chase, who played a crucial hand in West Indies’ revival against Pakistan on yesterday’s opening day of the first Test match, says the storied Sabina Park venue is one of his favourites because of the atmosphere.
Chase’s maiden Test hundred was a polished, unbeaten effort at Sabina last year.
Yesterday, he stroked an elegant 63 and shared in a sixth-wicket stand of 118 with Shane Dowrich (56) to lift the hosts from the depths of despair at 71-5, after they lost the toss and were asked to bat first in front of several hundred in the stands.
They ended on 244-7 as Pakistan were left frustrated, and outside of left-arm pace bowling ace Mohammad Amir, who closed with excellent figures of 3-28, the visitors, near close of play, appeared to lack a cutting edge.
“There are not a lot of [spectators] for first class cricket, but today is perhaps the biggest crowd I’ve seen in a match I’ve played here; I think it’s the fans. And I just love the Jamaican fans because when you’re out there you can hear them saying ‘bat on Chase’, so that encourages me and inspires me to do well,” added the tall right-hander.
The 25-year-old middle order batsman said the partnership with Dowrich and Captain Jason Holder’s cameo knock of 30 not out, has given the West Indies hope of reaching 350 runs in their first innings.
“We were in a bit of a hole early on, but Shane and I had a decent partnership. It was a fighting effort, but I was a bit disappointed that neither of us was able to get that big score. But it took us out of a hole and hopefully the skipper and rest of the batsmen can put us in a strong position, a fighting position, to see if we can put Pakistan on the back foot.
“It’s Test cricket so we always believe 450-500 is a good first-innings total, because we want to set the tone from early. [But] I guess if we can get 350 or plus from here that’s a decent comeback for us. The pitch is a bit two-paced; some balls don’t really come off that quickly, but once they hit the good areas I believe there is something in it for the bowlers, once you stay patient,” Chase said.
This is the 50th Test between the two nations and also the 50th Test match to be played at Sabina Park since the very first at the venue in 1930.