Chase 98* ensures India don't have everything their way

October 12 2018 by Gokul Gopal

Chase led Windies fightback as the visitors finished Day 1 on 295/7
Chase led Windies fightback as the visitors finished Day 1 on 295/7

When Roston Chase had addressed the press a day before the match, he reckoned the feeling in the Windies camp was that they needed the opposition to punch them first before they could land one of their own. If India's total in excess of 600 runs in the first Test, followed by Windies' capitulation in back-to-back innings was a blow that struck the visitors hard, Chase was at the forefront of a counter-punch effort that helped Windies end Day 1 of the second Test in Hyderabad on a positive note.

Having lost half their side for 113 runs, Chase led a spirited fightback with his unbeaten 98, supported well by Shane Dowrich and Jason Holder, as the visitors went into stumps at 295 for 7, having lasted beyond 80 overs for the first time in eight innings in India. On a day when India managed to bowl 95 overs, it was the lower middle order (sixth wicket onwards) that batted for close to 60 per cent of the overs, with Chase being involved in a century stand with Holder after a half-century association with Dowrich.

The familiar middle-order woes of Windies had resurfaced at the start of the second session, with Kuldeep having bagged three of the first five wickets. While none of the partnerships for the first five wickets lasted beyond 34 runs, the first real sign of a fightback was the sixth-wicket association of Chase and Dowrich as they recorded the first instance of a Windies pair lasting beyond 100 deliveries in this series. Be it calculated assaults, strong defence or strike rotation, Chase and Dowrch had all bases covered as they denied India a wicket for more than 20 overs during their 69-run stand that lasted for 124 deliveries. Their stand was yet another instance of a rearguard action for Windies in recent times, with 34 per cent of their 50 fifty-plus stands (including the one that was to follow) since 2017 coming from wickets six to 10.

With a bowler less and the ball getting old, the onus was on Umesh to get the most out of the ball, which was starting to reverse. And he delivered, shortly before the tea interval, as he got shaped one in to Dowrich and get a leg-before decision in his favour with the use of a review. Chase, though, continued in a solid manner, registering a half-century and started another lower order fightback with Jason Holder as they led Windies towards the 200-run mark.

The post-tea session was all about frustrating India further as the hosts ran through their overs without any success. Building on the good work from the previous partnership, Chase and Holder went on to register Windies' highest partnership of the series, a third fifty-plus stand in which Chase was the common feature. They didn't allow any room for India to sneak through - cutting out risky options, waiting for the bad ones and milking the singles and twos along with occasional boundaries. Having already bowled 80 overs with an hour left for the day's play to end, India didn't opt for the second new ball straightaway, and instead waited until the 87th to get hold of the shiny red cherry. There was no respite, though, for India as Chase and Holder continued to hold fort, with the latter becoming only the third West Indian to score fifty or more in his maiden innings as captain in India. The century stand was raised a short while later, the first three-figure partnership for a Windies pair in India since November 2011.

With 20 minutes left for the day's play to come to an end, India finally tasted success in the last session when Umesh bagged his third wicket to send back the Windies captain. Attempting to pull a short delivery going down leg, Holder could only glove it to the 'keeper to depart for 52, which brought to an end a 104-run stand that lasted more than 30 overs. Chase had Devendra Bishoo for company for the remainder of the day's play as they saw through a five-over period without any damage.

Earlier, unlike the previous Test in which the Windies batsmen failed to display the necessary application, they showed plenty of promise in the Hyderabad game after returning skipper Holder opted to bat. Umesh Yadav was wayward with his lines at the start, which allowed Kraigg Brathwaite to score some easy runs off his legs. Kieran Powell, at the other end, was troubled by debutant Shardul Thakur, who found the outside half of the opener's bat a couple of times but the ball evaded the fielders behind square on the off side. To add to the agony of the Mumbai pacer, he had to walk off the field after bowling only 10 deliveries as he suffered a right groin strain, ruling him out of Day 1 action as he later went for scans.

Meanwhile, a useful partnership was being built by the openers who concentrated on playing in front of the wicket as much as possible. But their association was cut short by R Ashwin, who accounted for Powell. The left-hander, having earlier used a review to extend his stay, failed to capitalise as his attempt to come down the wicket to the off-spinner resulted in a catch to Ravindra Jadeja at cover. Ashwin, who had completed the two deliveries from Thakur's unfinished over, went on to bowl 10 overs in which he conceded only seven runs and bowled seven maidens. In between all that, there was a lapse on part of the security personnel as a youngster ran out to the ground and had enough time to take a selfie and hug Virat Kohli before he was escorted off the field and probably off the ground.

Shai Hope and Brathwaite were displaying the virtue of patience, batting together for more than 10 overs before Kuldeep Yadav outsmarted the latter. Having bowled a googly that resulted in an edge just short of slip, the chinaman bowler had Brathwaite playing down the wrong line off the next delivery to trap him in front, with the Windies losing a review in the process. Shimron Hetmyer, the next man in, was not afraid to play his shots, although there was one ugly attempt to heave Kuldeep, with the ball going wide of backward point. But he looked comfortable against Umesh and Jadeja, carving a cover drive and using the crease well to execute a cut shot. At the other end, Shai Hope was playing some eye-catch shots, standing tall and punching a couple of Umesh deliveries to the ropes. He also survived a review from India before falling on the brink of Lunch, out leg-before to Umesh and costing Windies their last review as another promising partnership ended in the 30s followed by the quick wickets of Shimron Hetmyer and Sunil Ambris at the start of the second session. But Chase, collaborating with the lower middle order, ensured that the day belonged to the Windies.

Brief scores: Windies 295/7 (Roston Chase 98*, Jason Holder 52; K Yadav 3/74, U Yadav 3/83)

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