West Indies script remarkable comeback to draw second Test

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West Indies script remarkable comeback to draw second Test

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SportsCafe Desk

08/04/2016

It was expected to be a formality before India made it 2-0, but day 5 of the second Test saw one of the most remarkable comebacks in recent Test history. Led by Roston Chase, who made a five-fer and a century, West Indies fought back from the death and drew the second Test to keep the series at 1-0.

Brief scores : West Indies 196 & 388/6 (Roston Chase 137*, Dowrich 74, Holder 64, Shami 2/82)

India 500/9d

Blackwood & Chase counter

It had appeared that only rain could stop a certain Indian victory when day 4 had ended with the West Indies top-four finding ingenious ways to get out showing a clear lack of application. India were expected to run through the lower order provided rain allowed them the requisite overs – if you took the top order out in 16 overs, the rest should be easy? But it was not to be.

The day began with signs of a continuation of the Indian juggernaut. Mohammad Shami's first ball of the day saw a huge LBW appeal against Roston Chase, but the batsman's luck favored him. Two balls later, Blackwood edged one on to his pads luckily – that was close.

And then it began. In one of the most remarkable counter-attacking innings played, Roston Chase combined with Jermaine Blackwood, and the duo took apart the Indian bowling. Blackwood had shown his mettle in the first innings as well with a 62 and he was not shying away even in the face of an innings defeat. Roston began with two fours in Shami's next over and sent the best of India's bowlers for 15 runs in the next, forcing him to be taken off the attack! Blackwood appeared to have decided on a one boundary per over formula, as he kept sending them to the ropes without fail. Blackwood's innings was finally ended by Ashwin but the batsman had made 63 off just 54 balls by then.

Chase & Dowrich take over

Blackwood had been explosive, but Chase had been compact at the other end, providing that platform and getting his eye in. The batsman now took over – Mishra especially was at the receiving end of his batting. Dowrich as well joined in and the duo kept up the counter-attack, and by lunchtime, West Indies had finally had a good session in two Tests. They had lost one wicket but had scored 167 runs at almost 4.4 runs per over – with their backs against the wall. They resumed after lunch and kept the score ticking towards an improbable attempt to make India bat again. Dowrich got to his fifty, then the duo brought up their 100-run partnership, Chase was nearing his 100, and the deficit was coming closer by the minute, and the Indian bowlers had no clue how to break this partnership.

Bad umpiring was what finally accounted for Dowrich – Amit Mishra legbreak did not turn as expected, and Dowrich got the thickest possible inside edge off the ball, but Mishra's instinctive appeal found a response from Ian Gould as the finger went up after ages. Dowrich was absolutely devastated, but the deed was done.

Chase & Holder

Chase soon reached his 100 with captain Jason Holder for company – 50 years after the last time a West Indies player (Sir Gary Sobers) had scored a century and taken a five-fer, all in the second Test match of his career. The duo soon went past India's mark – a remarkable feat considering the way they had batted until the morning began, and kept building up the lead.

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Holder had shown he was made of sterner stuff with his bowling on the third day as they made India sweat it out for that lead. Now with that well within sight, he was going to enjoy the fruits of his spoil. Pairing with Chase, he kept up the counter-attack and they left the target behind without losing a further wicket. India threw the kitchen sink at them, but it was a frustrating day for the visitors after dominating this same side over two Tests, almost. West Indies ended the Test with a score of 388, 82 runs ahead of India.

Reasons could be given about the pitch going dead on the last day after some initial assistance, but no one was going to take away the credit from Chase, Holder and co. As Virat Kohli said after the match, “If five bowlers have given their best, and the opposition have done well, you just doff your hat to them."

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