India’s coach Anil Kumble has praised the fight shown by West Indies’ batsmen in salvaging a draw in the Sabina Park Test. India had sliced through the top order on the fourth morning before rain wiped out play in the final two sessions of the day, after which West Indies’ lower-middle order resisted through the whole of day five.
“The time lost was very crucial for us, because we were in great momentum and the conditions were such that it could have been different if we had bowled yesterday,” Kumble said. “There was loss of play, more than 100 overs in this Test match. But all those factors mattered. In the end, credit to the West Indian batsmen, how they batted today and their application as well.”
The star of West Indies’ unlikely escape was Roston Chase, the Barbados allrounder who followed up his first-innings five-for with an unbeaten final-day century. “Creditable for someone playing his second Test match to bat through the day and save the game for his team,” Kumble said. “Chase’s approach today was very good. He looked to attack when needed and blocked literally every ball, so kept our bowlers at bay, which was obviously disappointing from the outside.”
West Indies began the final day with a flourish, as Jermaine Blackwood and Chase scored at 10 an over before settling down. Kumble said India’s bowlers could have adjusted better to the conditions as the day progressed. “Initially, since we had 300 runs on the board, we were attacking and they came hard at us as well, and they got away in the first five or six overs. They got a lot of runs. And once that one or one-and-a-half-hour period happened, I believe the ball went a bit soft as well. So it was quite difficult to get the purchase that we were getting yesterday and the conditions were different. It was cloudy, there was some rain about and there was a lot more swing. So in that sense, we could have probably adapted better.”
There has been some debate over whether India’s declaration, at the end of the third day, had been delayed too long, but Kumble defended the timing. “It’s all nice to now sit and say when we should have declared and what if, but I thought we played really good cricket, we were dominant right throughout and today, you know the change in momentum happened and credit to the West Indian batsmen. You obviously feel from the position we were in that we should have probably wrapped up the Test match, but having said that this is certainly something that happens in a Test match. You have times when the opposition puts up a brave challenge, and that’s exactly what happened.”