Kingston: Roston Chase and Jermaine Blackwood frustrated India with their gritty half-centuries as the West Indies reached 215 for five at lunch on the fifth and final day of the second cricket Test on Wednesday.
Chase scored his maiden Test fifty (70 batting) at an opportune time for the troubled hosts as he weaved together a 93-run stand with Blackwood (63) before spinner R Ashwin removed the latter.
Chase (122 balls, 9 fours, 1 six) found another solid support in Shane Dowrich who was batting at 33 in an unbeaten 74 run stand for the sixth wicket as a bright sunny day made conditions better for batting at Sabina Park.
West Indies are still trailing by 89 runs and need to bat out the remaining two sessions to deny India the win and a 2-0 lead in the four-match series.
Starting at overnight 48 for four, Chase and Blackwood came out with a plan to defy the Indian bowlers. There had been no rain since play on day four had been called off and not a cloud was in sight on Wednesday.
The visitors started off with Mohammed Shami (2/53) and Amit Mishra (1-56), but Blackwood attacked them both and hit them out of the attack.
Ishant Sharma (1/34) and Umesh Yadav (0/21) were then deployed, but Blackwood continued attacking them too. The former bowled a bit wider outside of the off-stump in a bid to keep things tight, while Yadav used the short-ball approach against him.
It didn’t work as Blackwood smacked his second fifty in the Test off only 41 balls, bringing it up in the 31st over as 79 runs came in the first hour’s play. West Indies also crossed the 100-mark earlier in the 25th over.
The duo put 50 off just 54 balls and it seemed as if for once the hosts batting would come good. Ashwin (1/49) then was finally introduced into the attack in the 28th over of the innings, with skipper Virat Kohli opting to hold him back earlier in the session.
Blackwood hit a straight six in his second over but Ashwin got his revenge as he squeezed the batsman for runs bowling from round the wicket. The plan worked and Cheteshwar Pujara too a brilliant diving catch at forward short leg in the 34th over to send Blackwood back to the pavilion.
Chase was then joined in by Dowrich (59 balls, 2 fours), and the two overcame some miscommunication early in the innings to defy the Indian bowling further. After taking his maiden five-wicket haul earlier in the match, Chase then reached his maiden Test fifty off 84 balls and opened up to play some attacking strokes against Mishra, who bowled a predominantly leg-stump line.
The Indian bowling didn’t really trouble the duo as they brought up the 50-partnership off 82 balls, and the 200-mark came up for the West Indies in the 50th over. Yadav and Shami did get the ball to reverse later in the session, but couldn’t get another success before the lunch break as the two batsmen looked comfortable at the crease.
West Indies 1st innings: 196 (J. Blackwood 62; R. Ashwin 5-52)
India 1st innings: 500 for 9 decl (L. Rahul 158, A. Rahane 108no; R. Chase 5-121)
West Indies 2nd innings:
K. Brathwaite c Rahul b Mishra 23
R. Chandrika b I. Sharma 1
D. Bravo c Rahul b Shami 20
M. Samuels b Shami 0
J. Blackwood c Pujara b R. Ashwin 63
R. Chase not out 70
S. Dowrich not out 33
Extras (lb-2, nb-2, w-1) 5
Total (for 5 wickets at lunch) 215
Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-41, 3-41, 4-48, 5-141
To bat: J. Holder, D. Bishoo, M. Cummins, S. Gabriel
Bowling: I. Sharma 10-1-34-1 (nb-1), M. Shami 13-3-53-2, A. Mishra 11-1-56-1 (nb-1), U. Yadav 6-1-21-0 (w-1), R. Ashwin 14-3-49-1
Umpires: Aleem Dar and Ian Gould
TV umpire: Nigel Duguid
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle