Jamaica: Indian coach Anil Kumble praised rookie Roston Chase’s match-saving century but also lamented that losing more than 100 overs of bowling time also enabled the hosts to play out a draw in the second cricket Test, in Kingston.
Courtesy Chase’s 137 and half-centuries from Jermaine Blackwood and Shane Dowrich helped West Indies end the final day at 388 for six from a precarious 48 for four as India could not consolidate on their 1-0 lead.
“Obviously, we wanted to win this Test match. Yesterday, we were in a very good position and credit to the West Indies batsmen, the way they batted,” said Kumble after the match ended in a draw.
“Yesterday, time was very crucial for us because we were in great momentum and the conditions were such that it could have been different if we had probably bowled more. There was loss of play, more than 100 overs were lost in this Test match. So all those factors mattered. In the end, credit to the West Indian batsmen in terms of how they batted today and their application as well,” he added.
Talking about Chase in particular, the former Indian captain said, ”It is creditable for someone playing in his second Test match, to be able to bat through the day and save the game for his team. Chase’s approach today was very good. He looked to attack when needed to and blocked literally every ball. So he kept our bowlers at bay, which was obviously disappointing from the outside.
“I think all their batsmen, right from Jermaine Blackwood, Jason Holder and Shane Dowrich, all of them applied themselves. It’s something that we also have to sit down and analyze as to how we’re going to get the last five wickets because in this series they have certainly contributed,” he added.
India bowled out West Indies for just 196 runs in their first innings, and then thanks to centuries from KL Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane, managed to put up 500/9d.
The scoring rate was a bit low as compared to the Antigua Test, and particularly in light of the tropical storm hitting Jamaica on day three and four.
“You can’t really look at the forecast and take decisions,” said the coach.
“If you looked at the forecast on day three, it was supposed to rain the whole day, and even on day four it was supposed to rain. So you can’t really look at the forecast and decide what you need to do. Yes, you strategise slightly differently.”
“Having said that, we wanted to bat once because we didn’t want to declare with just a lead of 160 runs and then bat again on the fifth day. I thought we played really good cricket and we were dominant right throughout. Today the change in momentum happened and credit to the West Indies’ batsmen.”
The Indian coach accepted that the position that they were in, Kohli and co. should have won the match.
“From the position, we were in, we should have probably wrapped up the Test match, but having said that this is certainly something that happens in a Test match. Sometimes the opposition puts up a brave challenge and that’s exactly what happened,” he added.
Despite being reduced to 48 for 4 on the rain-marred day four then, West Indies were able to put up a momentous batting display and get away with a draw in this second Test. While Chase’s knock must be celebrated, at the same time, it ought to be mentioned that a five-bowler attack couldn’t take six wickets on fifth day pitch.
“The plan was always to take wickets. Initially, since we had 300 runs on the board, we were attacking and they came hard at us as well, and they got away in the five or six overs. They got a lot of runs.
“And once that period happened, I believe the ball went a bit soft as well. So it was quite difficult to get the purchase that we were getting yesterday and the conditions were different as well.”
Kumble admitted that overcast conditions on the fourth day helped the seamers get more swing.
“It was cloudy, there was some rain about and there was a lot more swing yesterday. So in that sense, we could have probably adapted better. Having said that though, the West Indies’ batsmen really applied themselves, so it was quite hard for our bowlers and this was certainly a learning spell. I’m sure on the next opportunity, whenever that is, the bowlers will be probably come up with a different approach, in terms of the challenge,” Kumble signed off.