Just eight months after rescuing a draw for West Indies from the jaws of defeat in only his second Test against India, Roston Chase came agonisingly close to pulling off another unlikely draw against Pakistan in the recently-concluded Dominica Test.
During the match against India, the West Indies were reeling at 48 for 4 on the final day still trailing by 246 runs when Chase arrived at the crease. The hosts were looking destined for a defeat but Chase rescued them by hitting an unbeaten 137. And against Pakistan, his side was in a similar condition, staring down the barrel after being reduced to 47 for 3 in the first hour of the final day when he arrived in the middle. Soon, the home side suffered further setbacks when they lost three more wickets inside 100 runs to get reduced to 93 for 6. However, Chase held firm from one end and along with the help of the lower-order batsmen began the rescue work.
He and skipper Jason Holder batted for close to 20 overs, adding 58-runs for the seventh wicket before Holder was dismissed. Devendra Bishoo and Alzarri Joseph also offered some resistance and the West Indies came agonisingly close to sealing a draw when he and Shannon Gabriel defied the Pakistani bowlers for close to eight overs. But with just seven balls remaining, Gabriel played a poor shot to get out and Chase could not do much except feeling disappointed from the non-striker’s end.
The right-handed batsman remained unbeaten on 101 but Pakistan managed to win the match by 101 runs and also the series. Speaking after the match, the 25-year old said that the knock against Pakistan was the ‘hardest one’ for him.
“I wouldn’t say it’s up there with the other two but a century is a century. We ended up losing the match but this one was the hardest for me. The others were more fluent and the conditions were a lot easier but this one was really tough for me. The pitch was a slower one, you couldn’t play a lot of shots, the outfield was very slow and the bowlers really put the ball in good areas. This one was the toughest out of my few so far,” Chase said.
“I thought it was a fighting effort. It’s sad to see that it didn’t mean much in the end because we lost the match but I thought the guys showed a lot of guts and effort not only today but in the whole match. [We] even put ourselves in the chance of, maybe not winning but, at least drawing the series,” he added.
Chase had a forgettable outing when the two sides met last time in UAE last year. In 3 Tests, he had managed to score just 135 runs at an average of 22.50. But he said he worked on his game after returning home and especially against Yasir Shah who had dismissed him in three out of the six outings. The hard work paid dividends as Chase finished the series as the highest run-scorer. In 3 matches, he amassed 403 runs with the help of two centuries and as many fifties at a stunning average of over 100.
“I didn’t really do that well in Dubai, so after that series, I came home and worked on some of the things that I thought brought my shortfall in Dubai. Especially Yasir Shah got the better of me a lot and this was mainly because he was tying me down and then I was just falling to a bad shot because of the pressure,” Chase said.
“When I went back home, something I really tried to work on was my sweep shot because that would put him off a little and change up the field and give me a little bit more scoring options. I thought that really was the key, seeing that he was there all series, so once I got through him it was a little easier for me to play the other bowlers,” he added.
Chase is now hopeful of doing well when his side visits England for a three-match Tests series starting from August 17.
“Even though I’m always a confident guy, it does [add] a lot to see that I average a 100 in the series against a quality attack. I’m not going to let it get to my head and I’m going to go back home and the next Test series is England, so hopefully, I should be there. I’ll go and look at some footage of the English guys and see what weaknesses they have, what I’ll be looking to exploit and see if that can work. Work hard on those weaknesses so that I can put up some good performances in that series as well,” he said.