HYDERABAD, India – Roston Chase stood on the brink of his fourth Test hundred after producing a gallant effort to lift West Indies out of trouble against India on the opening day of the second and final Test today.
The 26-year-old right-hander was unbeaten on 98 at the close as West Indies recovered from 113 for five inside the first hour after lunch, to end on a respectable 295 for seven.
Chase was aided by returning captain Jason Holder who struck a polished 52 while Shai Hope gathered 36, Shane Dowrich, 30 and left-handed opener Kieran Powell, 22.
Left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who triggered the post-lunch slide, has taken three for 74 while seamer Umesh Yadav, who struck twice in the final session to stymie the Windies progress, has claimed three for 83.
Seeking to turn the page on their embarrassing three-day defeat in the opening Test in Rajkot last week, West Indies conjured up a steady start, after choosing to bat first at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium.
Powell, who faced 30 balls and struck four boundaries, put on 32 for the first wicket with vice-captain Kraigg Brathwaite who made 14.
But with the session drifting towards the end of the first hour, Powell’s attacking approach cost him dearly as he tried to lift off-spinner Ravi Ashwin over the top but managed only to pick out Ravi Jadeja at cover.
Brathwaite followed with the score on 52, missing a forward defensive prod at Kuldeep and falling lbw, with the subsequent ill-advised review showing the ball hitting middle and off-stump.
Hope and Shimron Hetmyer (12) then tried to repair the innings in a 34-run, third wicket stand, which seemed to be taking the Windies safely to lunch.
The right-handed Hope had faced 68 balls and counted five attractive fours when he fell in the final over before the interval, lbw to Umesh Yadav trying to turn one into the leg-side.
Kuldeep then threatened to derail the Windies innings when he struck twice in the first half-hour following the resumption.
Hetymyer, unbeaten on 10 at the break, added just two before falling lbw in the third over after the interval, shouldering arms to one that spun back.
Sunil Ambris followed four overs later for 18, caught at short cover by Jadeja off a leading edge as he attempted a booming on-side drive.
With the wheels all but threatening to fall off, Chase stood tall, anchoring two critical stands to pull West Indies around and frustrate the Indians.
First, he put on 69 for the sixth wicket with wicketkeeper Dowrich who faced 63 balls and struck four fours and one six – a clean hit over long on off left-arm spinner Jadeja.
Chase, one of two Windies batsmen with a half-century in the opening Test, once again looked in good nick and raised his seventh Test half-century with a single to long leg off Umesh just before tea.
All told, he has faced 174 deliveries and struck seven fours and a six.
He lost Dowrich about 20 minutes before tea, however, the right-hander playing across a straight delivery from Umesh in the first over of a new spell, and adjudged lbw on review.
On 197 for six at tea with Chase on exactly 50, the Windies consolidated afterward as Holder joined his fellow Barbadian to post an enterprising 104 for the seventh wicket.
Utilising a positive approach, Holder stroked six fours – mostly well-timed off-side drives – in an innings requiring 92 balls and which forced India on the backfoot.
But with the close approaching, Windies suffered a major setback when Holder perished, brushing a pull at a short ball from Umesh, for wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant to take a nimble leg-side catch.
The effort between Chase and Holder was their third seventh-wicket century partnership, the most by the same seventh-wicket pairing in Test match history.