HYDERABAD: It was a familiar scenario. West Indies were staring at yet another collapse, after being reduced to 92/4. However, the script at the end of the day was quite different. Roston Chase took charge of the situation to ferry his team to safety (295/7). The lanky right-hander’s initial steps did raise some questions, as he looked to go after India’s spinners soon after taking to the field. As the innings progressed, his control and strike-rotation dug his team out, with company from Shane Dowrich and Jason Holder. The later was Chase’s most-significant ally, as the two were involved in a 107-run partnership for the seventh wicket.
In stark contrast, and much in line with what had cost the visitors the first Test, two of his teammates — opener Kieran Powell and newcomer Sunil Ambris — succumbed to needless aggression.Chase isn’t a stranger to conducting rescue missions. In his debut series — two years ago at home — the 26-year-old’s fifer and highest Test score (137 n.o) had helped West Indies save a match against India in Kingston. In this series, the all-rounder had already notched up a half-century in the first innings in Rajkot.
In the 10 innings he has played against the current Test numero uno, Chase has scored 459 runs. His ability to handle spin — a trait that he has showcased in particular against India in some of those outings — was again on display. Eighty two runs of the all-rounder’s unbeaten 98 came off Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav.
Asked the reason behind Chase’s adeptness against tweakers, West Indies head coach Stuart Law, while subtly mentioning the unavailability of net bowlers on Thursday, said: “I think he understands spin. The boys face a lot of it in domestic cricket. He’s got a long reach, and he uses that to his advantage. He is a clean striker of the ball. He does enjoy playing spin.”
With this information in consideration, the question that may pop up is: “Why not push Chase up a couple of slots, as their top-order has been misfiring?”.
But Law was in sync with the immediate counterargument that is bound to be used against this notion, remarking that Chase’s role as an off-spinner too is a factor for such a decision. “The way things are going at the moment, I think he’s batting at the right spot. He did well in the first Test. We have worked hard with Ros. In the last couple of weeks, we changed a few technical things. He has worked his socks off to get this right.
“Today, he showed what he can do if things go according to plan. I think if you push him up, it puts him under a lot more pressure and stress. He has got a big role with the ball as well. So, we are trying to keep him fresh. I think the current spot is good for him. His job is far from over, as he now needs to finish the job for us. Ideally, you’d look at the magic number of 400 in the first innings.”