Sir Viv’s verdict
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Cricket legend Sir Viv Richards has praised West Indies for their “character and fight” after they produced a magnificent batting display on the final day of the second Test, to earn a precious draw in the second Test at Sabina Park Wednesday.
Starting the day on 48 for four in their second innings – still requiring another 256 runs to avoid an innings defeat – West Indies lost just two wickets and batted all day to finish on 388 for six.
They were led by a splendid unbeaten, maiden Test century from Roston Chase who finished on 137 while wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich got 74, captain Jason Holder 64 not out and Jermaine Blackwood, 63.
Following the amazing back-to-the-wall performance, Sir Viv made his way to the West Indies players’ area to applaud the team for facing up to the challenge.
“This is a marvelous performance from this young team. I am really proud of them,” said Sir Viv, a member of the television commentary panel for the series.
“They really stood up to the challenge and we should be proud of this kind of performance. They did not win the Test match but if we can see more efforts like this I am sure this team is on the way to very good things.
“They applied themselves and were rewarded. This should be great for them and it shows that they can play at this level. This has lifted the series and I hope it lifts this team as well. There is talent, there is fight and there is character in that West Indies dressing and we saw it here today.”
Chase’s innings was the highlight of the day. All told, he faced 269 deliveries in a knock lasting just shy of six hours and which included 14 fours and a six.
The knock came in just his fourth innings and followed his five wickets for 121 runs in the Indian first innings of 500 for nine declared.
Chase also created history by becoming just the fourth West Indian to make a century and take five wickets in the same Test match. The last occasion was by Sir Garfield Sobers in England 50 years ago.
Sir Viv, renowned for never having lost a Test series as captain, said self-belief would now be critical for Chase as he tried to build on the performance.
“My advice to him is keep believing in [himself]. He’s off to a tremendous start in his Test career – with a terrific five-wicket haul and then a significant century like this which saved the match,” said Sir Viv.
“He’s now being mentioned and respected, where this is concerned with making a ton and taking a five-for. So I urge him and the team to keep growing and keep believing in themselves.”
Chase later said the innings was a great confidence builder for him.
“It is a great confidence booster for me to know that I can actually perform at this level. I know people will be expecting a lot from me so I will just go out there and play it Test match by Test match and keep on looking to improve.”
He added: “They say I am cool [and that] I don’t really show any emotion and stuff but I just believe in my ability so when I do stuff that people don’t really expect me to do and they say ‘you did great but you don’t really show any emotion’, I just think it’s my job to perform.
“So when I perform, I thank God and just look to perform again. I just don’t look to stop at that performance. I just want to keep going on and going on.”
Chase has been in the Windies frame for some time. When the Australians toured the Caribbean last year, he scored a half-century in either innings of the President’s XI tour game in Antigua.
He followed that up with over 700 runs in the regional first class tournament for Barbados Pride which kept his name on the lips of selectors.
And despite a tough debut in Antigua where West Indies suffered an innings defeat, Chase said he was enjoying his stint at the highest level.
“I’m enjoying the experience because I’ve waited all my life to get here and I’ve finally gotten here,” he explained.
“I never thought it was easy but all the guys I’ve spoken with, who played before me and are playing now, told me it’s a very hard task but just try to enjoy it.
“Right now I’m enjoying it although we’re behind in the series and we’re fielding 160 overs every innings but I’m enjoying it while I’m out there and while I’m batting as well.”