Unless weather intervened on the last day, India were expected to run through the West Indies line-up in the Kingston Test at Jamaica. After all, they had the struggling hosts down in the dumps at 48 for 4 in merely 15.5 overs on rain-hit day four. But, West Indies showed amazing resolve, in rather unexpected fashion, to hold the Indians to a draw. They did not get any help from the weather, yet the Windies held on for a good part of 88 overs to secure a much-deserved draw. Rather impressively, they lost only two wickets in the process.
Without doubt, Roston Chase was the hero of the match. For a newcomer, playing in only his second Test, Chase showed amazing maturity. India would have gone into the final day, knowing very well they were favourites to win. But, Chase had something else on his minds. The manner in which the thwarted the Indians was rather incredible. Not only did he stall the Indians, but also batted right through the day. His numbers tell the story of West Indies’ domination on day five – 137 not out from 269 balls, batting for 352 minutes, hitting 15 fours and a six.
Not only Chase, but the entire West Indies middle-order somehow found the confidence and resolve to keep Indians at bay. Rarely does it happen in Test cricket that four batsmen get a fifty or more back-to-back in the fourth innings of a Test. And, West Indies are least expected to do so. But, they did. It began with Jermaine Blackwood thwarting the Indians with an attacking half-innings for the second time in the match. And while Chase kept the Indians at bay throughout the day, he found desired support from the likes of Shane Dowrich and skipper Jason Holder, who made 74 and 64 not out respectively.
While the match ended in a draw, the first at Sabina Park since 1998, it was a moral victory of sorts for the hosts. No one expected them to pull off what was an amazing draw, against all odds. They should now look to build on the unexpected result. The match saw West Indies discovering a couple of impressive talents in Chase who, apart from scoring a hundred, also took five wickets with the ball. And, Dowrich, who has replaced Denesh Ramdin as wicket-keeper, already has three fifties to his name in four Tests.
What West Indies need now is for the experienced batsmen to find their groove. Kraigg Brathwaite had a poor Test. If he can get among the runs, West Indies should do better. The same is the case with Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels, both of whom have been highly disappointing. As for Rajendra Chandrika, he clearly hasn’t looked the part in Test cricket. West Indies need to look beyond him for now. In the bowling, Shannon Gabriel has impressive, but he needs to learn the art of getting wickets as well. Better will also be expected of Devendra Bishoo.
--By A Cricket Analyst