West Indies batsman Roston Chase revealed how his century against Pakistan in the recently-concluded Dominica Test was the ‘hardest one’ for him. On the fifth day of the series decider, Chase played a gritty hand, identical to his effort against India in Kingston last July-August, only for the hosts to pull off a win off the last ball of the penultimate over of the game. Chase pointed out that his previous two Test hundreds came in easier conditions, while he was made to toil hard for his essay on Sunday (May 14).
“I wouldn’t say it’s up there with the other two but a century is a century. We ended up losing the match but this one was the hardest for me. The others were more fluent and the conditions were a lot easier but this one was really tough for me. The pitch was a slower one, you couldn’t play a lot of shots, the outfield was very slow and the bowlers really put the ball in good areas. This one was the toughest out of my few so far,” Chase said after the match.
On a day when Pakistan looked to secure a winning farewell for their two stalwarts Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan, Chase led West Indies’ defiance. Even as going for the win seemed out of bounds for West Indies, the task at the start of Day 5 was to bat it out and secure a draw. They went from 7 for 1 at the start to 73 for 4 by lunch and 146 for 6 by Tea, giving Pakistan the chance to finish with a favourable result. Shortly into the final session, Jason Holder’s exit left Chase and the tailenders to play out majority of a session. And they nearly did, only for Yasir Shah to dismiss the last batsman Shannon Gabriel towards the end and give Pakistan their first Test series win in West Indies. Chase was visibly distraught but later lauded the side’s fight before going down.
“I thought it was a fighting effort. It’s sad to see that it didn’t mean much in the end because we lost the match but I thought the guys showed a lot of guts and effort not only today but in the whole match. [We] even put ourselves in the chance of, maybe not winning but, at least drawing the series.”
Dealing with Yasir Shah and working on the sweep shotBefore Pakistan arrived in the Caribbean, the two sides squared-off in UAE, where Chase fell to Yasir Shah on three out of the six outings he had in the Test series. The 25-year-old managed just 135 runs at a forgettable average of 22.50. There were amends to be made and Chase did exactly that on returning home.
“I didn’t really do that well in Dubai, so after that series I came home and worked on some of the things that I thought brought my shortfall in Dubai. Especially Yasir Shah got the better of me a lot and this was mainly because he was tying me down and then I was just falling to a bad shot because of the pressure,” Chase said.
“When I went back home, something I really tried to work on was my sweep shot because that would put him off a little and change up the field and give me a little bit more scoring options. I thought that really was the key, seeing that he was there all series, so once I got through him it was a little easier for me to play the other bowlers.”
The improvement in Chase’s numbers was there for everyone to see, as he hit two centuries and a fifty in the home series at an average of 100.75 to top the batting charts. Chase is determined not to let the success get to his head and already has West Indies’ next Test opponent – England – on his mind.
“Even though I’m always a confident guy, it does [add] a lot to see that I average a 100 in the series against a quality attack. I’m not going to let it get to my head and I’m going to go back home and the next Test series is England, so hopefully I should be there. I’ll go and look at some footage of the English guys and see what weaknesses they have, what I’ll be looking to exploit and see if that can work. Work hard on those weaknesses so that I can put up some good performances in that series as well,” he said.