It was a series that looked all but over soon after it had begun. India annihilated the West Indies in the first test in Antigua, and proceeded to amass a mammoth 304 run lead after the first innings of the second test.
Having scored a meagre 196 in the first innings, the West Indies were 256 runs behind with only six wickets standing at the end of Day 4 and many critics (including this blog) had written off the under-staffed Windies side. One man made it his mission to fight back: Roston Chase. For a side potentially filled with marquee stars such as Gayle, Narine and Pollard (though none of them are playing in this series, but that’s a story for another day), Roston Chase making his debut in this test series had rather big shoes to fill.
And fill them he did – with 5 for 121 with the ball to close out the Indian batting lineup from a formidable 425-6, and more importantly, a gritty 137* to save the match on Day 5. Nothing could find a way through Chase – neither India’s five bowlers nor Virat Kohli’s verbals. This was an innings for the ages filled with classical shots and excellent footwork. An innings that restored a measure of pride to Windies players and fans. An innings that made Sir Viv stand up and yell “ROSTANNNN!” when he got to his ton.
It’s also worth noting that though Ashwin did managed the five wicket-century feat in the first test of the series, it’s been almost 50 years since another West Indian made a century and took a 5-for in the same test. That was Sir Gary Sobers, a Bajan like Chase, and the greatest all-rounder the game has ever seen (with apologies to Jacques Kallis fans).
So who exactly is Roston Chase? Here are three things to know about the up-and-coming West Indian star:
– He hails from Barbados: One of the smaller West Indian nations, the home of Sobers, Grenidge, Hayes and Marshall has struggled in more recent years to get players to the national side.
– He sees himself as more of a batsman: While it seems most ‘all-rounders’ these days slowly tend to become bowlers (Bravo and Jadeja come to mind), Chase is adamant that he prefers batting. His 710 first class runs at an average of over 59 in the 15-16 Season will attest to that.
– He can bowl a bit too: His 5 wicket haul was no stroke of luck; he used his handy off-break to pick up 23 wickets at an average of just over 17!
This 22-year old has secured his place in the XI for the remainder of the series, and has ensure the series remains alive in the 3rd test which starts August 9th.
We wonder whether we will see an IPL contract for Roston Chase in 2017? Given the Windies issues with test cricket, maybe an IPL contract is the worst thing that could happen to this guy!