Roston Chase reigned supreme with a superbly paced unbeaten 131 and shared a timely undefeated stand of 132 with Jason Holder (58 not out) to steer West Indies to calmer waters at stumps on Day 1 of the second Test against Pakistan in Barbados on Sunday (April 30). The hosts were 286 for 6 at close of play.
Chase’s noteworthy knock certainly would be reverberated by generations of West Indies’ fans. When he came out to bat at his home ground, the hosts were perilously-placed at 37 for 3.
Despite Chase composing a fluent innings, the Caribbean side had found themselves in trouble at the Tea break, with the score reading 166 for 6. It was only in the final session, the all-rounder and Holder, the captain, piloted West Indies to a competitive score.
One of the salient features of Chase’s batting was his ability to see the ball early, map out information instinctively and then to judiciously move back or forward against the spin duo of Yasir Shah and Shadab Khan. The way he was able to get close to the pitch of the ball to flick Yasir in the 21st over and punch Shadab off the back foot in the very next over encapsulates the point.
Chase also played with authority against the pace duo of Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Abbas. The straight drive he cracked off Amir in the 81st over was one of the highlights of his innings.
At the other end, Holder proved to be an able ally. Holder used his reach to thwack Shadab for a few boundaries through the cover-region and mid-off. He had his share of anxious moments against the second new ball, but waded through the spells of Amir and Abbas to guide his side to stumps.
Earlier in the day, in what turned to be a battle of skill and experience, Pakistan had gained the upper hand. Amir and Yasir, two seasoned campaigners, exemplified the gulf between the two sides by running the through the top-order.
Amir mischievously preyed on Kraigg Brathwaite (9) before administering the killer blow to dislodge the stodgy opener. In his third over, the pacer bowled an inswinger that straightened on the angle to produce the outside edge. Abbas then induced Shimron Hetmyer (0) to edge one to the slip cordon with Azhar Ali pouching a sharp chance. Hope, who replaced Hetmyer at the crease, is himself just 23 and eight Tests old.
The lack of experience again was exposed by Pakistan’s bowlers. It was Yasir who cast a spell on the middle-order batsman. He got a few deliveries to whir past the outside edge and sprinkled it with sliders. Eventually, after prodding and plodding, Hope edged a leg-break to the wicketkeeper to trudge back to the pavilion.
The slide continued as Vishaul Singh chased one off Abbas to the slip cordon where Younis Khan took a fine catch. Shane Dowrich (29), who forged a stand of 47 with Chase, then edged one off Shadab to the ‘keeper. Incidentally, it turned out to be Shadab’s maiden Test scalp in his first Test.
After losing the first Test, West Indies needed a spark of inspiration from somewhere. Chase and Holder have certainly lifted the spirits of the camp with gritty efforts.
Brief scores: West Indies 286/6 (Roston Chase 131*, Jason Holder 58*; Mohammad Amir 2-52) vs Pakistan.