Monday is a bank holiday in Barbados and Roston Chase with a wonderful unbeaten century against Pakistan Sunday has set things up nicely for his countrymen to come to the cricket at Kensington Oval.
The right hander coming in with the West Indies struggling at 37 for three, scored a brilliant century in his first Test at home, to ensure the home team closed the opening day of the second Brighto Paints Test in a fighting position of 286/6. Chase was unbeaten on 131, while skipper Jason Holder was not out on 58.
With Barbados only living national hero in Sir Gary Sobers in attendance, Chase and fellow Barbadian Holder added an unbroken 132 runs for the seventh wicket that must have been very pleasing to him.
Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Abas both bowled beautifully to reduce the West Indies to half their side down for just 107 runs. Chase showing the right temperament for Test cricket was a perfect example for other batsmen. He was is no rush, respecting the potentially harmful deliveries and hammering the bad ones. He played some attractive shots during his knock that found the approval of the purists at the ground. When he raised his century of 165 balls with 14 fours, he became the first Barbadian to score a Test century at Kensington Oval for 18 years. The last man doing so was Sherwin Campbell against Australia in 1999. The last time fans here saw a Test century by a West Indian was Shivnarine Chanderpaul against Australia in 2012.
Holder brought up his half century just before the close of 115 balls with six fours.
Earlier, Holder called correctly at the toss and given the dry nature of the track decided to take first strike. He would have thought of the future and how difficult it would be batting on the fourth and fifth days on this pitch.
However, the pitch had nothing to do with the first two dismissals of the match. Kraigg Brathwaite who has looked off colour for far too long this season, was caught behind groping at a delivery angled across him from Amir. Shimron Hetmyer playing his second Test showed exactly that, as his inexperience saw him playing at a delivery away from his body – to be caught in the slips.
Shai Hope was next on his way up the pavilion steps after making just five runs as the West Indies looked in disarray at 37/3. Keiran Powell was still there and looking solid – the difference with his approach was the fact that he played each ball on merit and was willing to get in line. He got the pressure eased off him with the arrival of Chase. The languid right hander played positively and allowed the West Indies to claw back towards the end of the session as they went to lunch at 72/3.
After the break both men took the score past the 100-run plateau before a double strike kept Pakistan in control. Powell initially given not out to Amir, was sent on his way upon review for 38. He faced 83 balls in an innings of composure, hitting five fours. Soon after Vishaul Singh continued his struggle in the big time, edging to slip for three runs. At 107 for five the end looked near for the West Indies but Chase was still there and he was intent on fighting for his team. He found a familiar ally in Shane Dowrich and the two battled well. Fighting fire with fire the two right handers reeled off a number of beautiful fours much to the delight of the crowd numbering around 2,000 people.
They added 47 runs for the sixth wicket before Dowrich gave Shadab his first wicket. He was caught by Younis for 29 after facing 54 balls and striking five fours. Chase stood firm and carried the West Indies to tea at 166/6 with an unbeaten 70 up to that point.
WI vs Pakistan
K Brathwaite c Sarfraz b Amir*9
K Powell lbw Amir*38
S Hetmyer c Ali b Abas*1
S Hope c Safraz b Shah*5
R Chase not out*131
V Singh c Younis b Abas*3
S Dowrich c Younis b Shadab*29
J Holder not out*58
Extras 4b, 6lb, 2w*12
Total for 6 wkts*286
Fall of wkts: 12, 13, 37, 102, 107, 154
Bowling: Mohammad Amir 22-4-52-2, Mohammad Abas 18-4-47-2, Yasir Shah 25-2-83-1, Shadab Khan 23-3-90-1, Azhar Ali 1-0-4-0.
CAPTION: Roston Chase scored his second Test century.