West Indies’ top-five batsmen scored 35 in the first innings in Rajkot, the team’s lowest in an innings against India. So when West Indies all-rounder Roston Chase — whose 79-ball 53 was a silver lining for his side in Rajkot — was asked what went wrong with West Indies’ batting, he didn’t pull any punches.
“After India scored in excess of 600 in the first innings, it was always going to be difficult for us to surpass that score,” Chase said on Thursday.
Not up to the mark
“The guys were a bit tired on the first afternoon we batted. But after that, our shot selection was a bit off. We tried to be aggressive, which is good, but we didn’t really mix aggression with defence. The rotation of strike, too, wasn’t quite up to the mark,” he added.
The return of regular captain Jason Holder and experienced seamer Kemar Roach would benefit the ailing side, Chase admitted. However, he remained non-committal about the final eleven.
“I don’t know who’s going to play [on Friday] but it’s always good to have the captain back, and Kemar Roach too; he’s a senior player and brings a wealth of experience to the side,” he said.
In Roach’s absence, Keemo Paul (0 for 61) and Sherman Lewis (2 for 93) handled the pace bowling duties in Rajkot and were put to the sword by an Indian line-up which boasted three centurions in captain Virat Kohli, Prithvi Shaw and Ravindra Jadeja. “It was always going to be hard with two inexperienced pacers,” Chase admitted.
“But it’s Test cricket, so you have to learn quickly and move on in the second game. We were also put under pressure by young Prithvi Shaw who really took us apart in the opening encounter. We hope to learn from our mistakes,” he added.
For the West Indies, however, staging a recovery after a thrashing isn’t unfamiliar territory. In 2016, after an innings-and-209-run defeat in the first Test at Edgbaston, it fought back to beat England by five wickets at Leeds. Asked if memories of that Test will help the players dig deep against India, Chase said, “Yeah, it’s a similar feeling [to the England series]. We have talked about it in the dressing room and sometimes we say that as a pair, we need a punching first to fight back. That said, we probably had a bit of nervous energy in the first game. So, the guys should be ready to go [on Friday].”