Roston Chase the 24-year-old West Indies batting allrounder, had endured an underwhelming debut in the first Test against India in Antigua. He scored 23 and 8, sent down 34 fruitless overs, giving away 102 runs.
However, Chase put the disappointment behind and picked up his maiden five-wicket haul on Monday in India’s first innings score of 500 for 9 at Sabina Park. “It is a great feeling to get five wickets in any match, but at Test level, it is a great feeling for me,” he said. “I have just started my Test career and it is a great confidence boost for me that I can do it at this level.”
Chase had earned his maiden call-up to the Test side after a good run in the WICB’s regional first-class tournament in which he was fourth on the run-scoring charts with 710 runs at 59.16.
In Kingston, West Indies were made to earn every wicket as India’s batsmen mentally wore them down by displaying ample patience and discipline in their defence and shot-making. “Yes, it was hard for me. It’s Test cricket, so you are never taught that it will be easy,” Chase admitted. “But [in] the first game, I found out that my line was a bit too wide. So I adjusted my line and length in this match and the skipper told me to do that – to attack the batsmen more and hold a tighter line, and it worked for me.”
Chase, whose wickets included those of Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, felt that variations helped him improve in this game, and cutting down on pace helped him extract more turn. “As I am 6’4″, I tend to get a lot of bounce, but I found that I wasn’t only getting bounce this time but I was also getting some turn as well, so that helped me a lot,” he said. “I was spinning some balls and straightening some of them as well. I also tried to vary my pace in the game as I found that in the last match, I was a bit too quick. So when I slowed the ball down, I got more results in the match.”
Chase turned his arm over for 36.1 overs, the most for his team in India’s first innings, but said he was used to it despite being in the side as a batting allrounder. “I am mainly a batsman, but earlier, in our local first-class season, I wasn’t bowling a lot earlier on. But some of our players left for West Indies duty, so that’s when I got an opportunity to express myself as a bowler. I am a bit accustomed to bowling now.”
While there was uncertainty on the weather front due to expected tropical storms, West Indies may have to bat for a significant amount of time, rain interruptions notwithstanding, with two days left in the match. With a 304-run deficit after India’s declaration, Chase admitted that they would need more than the odd spark of brilliance.
“We are a bit behind the eight-ball, but I believe that once the team pulls together, we have been seeing glimpses in the first game and this game that we have the ability to compete at this level. But we just need to streamline it a bit more so that we can have a better collective effort. As I said, we have had some glimpses, but we just have to streamline it and we will be fine”.