Roston Chase And The Simple Pleasures
Trailing India by 256 runs heading in to the final day of the Second Test in Kingston, the West Indies had the weather to thank for ensuring the game even went the distance.
It seemed like it was only a matter of time before the visitors would claim the six wickets they needed for victory, securing a 2-0 series lead.
As it transpired, there was still some life in the West Indies.
Having lost by more than an innings in North Sound, things had started poorly in Kingston as the home side stumbled to 196 all out before watching India post 500/9 declared in their first innings.
It was dull, one sided and latterly punctuated by rain delays.
But come the final day and things took a delightful turn as Roston Chase joined a unique club and the home side fought back.
Chase became just the fourth player in Test history to record a five wicket haul and score a century in the same game. Almost 50 years to the day since Garry Sobers last achieved the feat, Chase’s 137 not out underpinned the West Indies fightback, helping secure a once unlikely draw.
His 5-121 during India’s first innings was hardly a classic spin bowling performance, but his century stood out at a time when the West Indies backs appeared to be against the wall – both within the game and in the wider sense.
Despite international success in limited overs cricket, the Test side remains weak, numerous potential stars opting to ply their trade elsewhere. It had been evident for large parts of this series. But for a few hours on a sunny day in Jamaica, Chase blew away those clouds.
The sight of any batsmen flashing a drive through the covers whilst wearing a cap fills my heart with joy – I’m not sure why, perhaps it is some form of nostalgia – and watching Chase do it in front of Sir Viv Richards, rallying against the ‘losing cause’, seemed to carry extra zeal. It was a glorious display even if it was, at times, technically a little patchy.
Jermaine Blackwood, wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich and captain Jason Holder all contributed half centuries and all assembled partnerships of at least 93 with Chase to save the game.
It was an endearing performance, one of sweet drives, classy cuts and staunch defence interspersed with moments it appeared the dominoes might be about to fall.
Ultimately India were frustrated and the West Indies resilience became something to behold in an otherwise forgettable Test.
It was proof of how, despite taking up to five days to complete, a Test match can still ebb and flow steadily or dramatically swing in one sides favour, despite that side having previously been on the ropes.
It wasn’t a classic, but it was a reminder of the simple joys a little resilience and flare can bring to a game.