KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) — Batting hero Roston Chase says he, along with a few teammates, had plotted the strategy on the previous night, on how to draw the second Test against India on Wednesday’s critical final day at Sabina Park.
In a discussion on Tuesday night with wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich and reserve player Carlos Brathwaite, Chase said it had been determined then that either he, or Dowrich, of the specialist batsmen remaining, would need to reach triple figures in order to save the game.
West Indies began the day on 48 for four in their second innings — still requiring 256 runs to avoid an innings defeat — and batted all day to reach 388 for six and force a stalemate.
Chase led the way with a superb unbeaten 137 — his maiden Test hundred in only his second game — while Dowrich stroked 74 and captain Jason Holder, an unbeaten 64.
Jermaine Blackwood slammed a quick-fire 63 from 54 balls early in the morning session to complete his second half-century of the game.
“Last night, me, Dowrich and Carlos were having a conversation. We were speaking about drawing the Test match and I told them that once me or Shane gets a hundred we’ll be safe,” Chase said.
“[We knew because] Blackwood plays a bit aggressively there would still be a lot of time so either me or Shane, and probably Jason, would have to get a hundred in the match.
“Also the innings that was played by the Sri Lankan [Kusal Mendis] a couple of days before, that really inspired me and actually made me believe more that I could save the match for us.”
The 21-year-old Mendis struck 176 to help fire Sri Lanka to a shock 106-win over Australia in the first Test in Pallekele last week.
Chase, 24, matched Mendis. He struck 14 fours and a six in an innings that spanned 269 balls and nearly six hours. He posted 93 with Blackwood for the fifth wicket, 144 with Dowrich for the sixth and 103 in an unbroken seventh wicket stand with Holder.
He had also claimed five for 121 with his unassuming off-spin in India’s first innings of 500 for nine declared, and on Wednesday became only the fourth West Indian to score a century and take a five-wicket innings haul in a Test.
“It’s a great match for me. I’m just looking to move on from here, stay humble and take it Test match by Test match,” the right-hander said.
“It is a great confidence booster for me to know that I can actually perform at this level. I know people will be expecting a lot from me so I will just go out there and play it Test match by Test match and keep on looking to improve.”
He added: “They say I am cool [and that] I don’t really show any emotion and stuff, but I just believe in my ability so when I do stuff that people don’t really expect me to do and they say ‘you did great but you don’t really show any emotion’, I just think it’s my job to perform.
“So when I perform, I thank God and just look to perform again. I just don’t look to stop at that performance. I just want to keep going on and going on.
Chase has been in the Windies frame for some time. When the Australians toured the Caribbean last year, he scored a half-century in either innings of the President’s XI tour game in Antigua.
He followed that up with over 700 runs in the regional first class tournament for Barbados Pride which kept his name on the lips of selectors.
And despite a tough debut in Antigua where West Indies suffered an innings defeat, Chase said he was enjoying his stint at the highest level.
“I’m enjoying the experience because I’ve waited all my life to get here and I’ve finally gotten here,” he explained.
“I never thought it was easy, but all the guys I’ve spoken with, who played before me and are playing now, told me it’s a very hard task but just try to enjoy it.
“Right now I’m enjoying it although we’re behind in the series and we’re fielding 160 overs every innings, but I’m enjoying it while I’m out there and while I’m batting as well.”