Roston Chase accomplished an all-round feat last achieved by cricketing great Gary Sobers as West Indies escaped with an unlikely draw against India in the second test in Jamaica on Wednesday.
After taking 5-121 with his off-spin earlier in the match, Chase scored an authoritative 137 not out to lead West Indies to safety, with the home team losing only two wickets on the fifth and final day at Sabina Park in Kingston.
In just his second test, the 24-year-old from Barbados became just the fourth West Indies player to score a century and take five wickets in the same test, and the first to do so in 50 years.
Sobers, the only player to accomplish the feat twice, last achieved that double in 1966.
The small crowd erupted in rapturous applause when Chase completed his century and raised his bat in celebration, with nobody clapping louder than retired batting great Viv Richards.
“It’s a great feeling I could help draw the test match for my team after we were behind the eight-ball by a long way,” the softly-spoken Chase said after being named man of the match.
“My aim is to be equally capable both batting and bowling but I prefer batting more.”
Chase was ably supported by fellow 24-year-olds Jermaine Blackwood (63) and Shane Dowrich (74), as the middle-order came to the rescue following a top-order collapse on Tuesday.
Their performances will give long-suffering Caribbean cricket fans hope that their team, world champions in the short Twenty20 version of the game, also has a future in the traditional five-day format.
If not quite qualifying as a miracle, the result was certainly unexpected after the Windies began the final day staring down the barrel of defeat, precariously placed on 48 for four and still needing another 256 to make India bat again.
Even though rain washed out most of day four, it seemed a formality for India to quickly wrap up victory and take a 2-0 lead in the four-test series, but it was not to be.
West Indies had reached 388 for six in their second innings, ahead by 84 runs, when India captain Virat Kohli conceded a draw with a few overs still remaining.
“It was just outstanding,” said West Indies captain Jason Holder, who played his part with an unbeaten 64 batting at number eight.
“I just asked the guys to show fight and character. It was really good to see Roston batting an entire day.”
India captain Virat Kohli lamented the rain that helped the Windies, but also gave credit to the opposition.
“Testing, that’s what test cricket is all about,” he said.
“Our bowlers tried their best. We created a few chances that didn’t go to hand, beat them quite a few times but at the end of the day it was really good batting as well.
“You have to take your hat off and say well played.”
India all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin, man of the match in the first test, had a particularly tough day as he finished with 1-114 from 30 overs of off-spin.
For the Windies, according to statisticians, it is the first time ever that West Indies batsmen at five, six, seven and eight each scored a half-century in the same innings.
West Indies suffered a crushing defeat in the series opener in Antigua, by an innings and 92 runs, but the series suddenly has new life heading into the third test to be played at Gros Islet on the island of Saint Lucia from August 9-13.