England batsman Ollie Pope on Friday expressed his regret for missing his second Test hundred against India on the second day of the fourth Test at Kennington Oval.
Umesh Yadav sent back overnight batsmen Craig Overton and Dawid Malan to reduce England at 62/5 in the early part of the day. At a point where India looked to plunge on the hosts to regain the momentum in the match after they were bowled out for 191 on the first day, Pope in the company of wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow steadied England’s sinking ship.
A counter-attacking batting was displayed by the duo with Pope hitting a flurry of boundaries, he hit three fours against Shardul Thakur in one over (four in a row if included the one that came off leg-bye) and made sure to keep the Indian bowlers at bay.
Obviously, would have liked to get a hundred today: Ollie Pope
With Pope’s batting fireworks, England managed to gain a lead over India but the Surrey batsman was dismissed by Thakur later in the day after he chased a wide delivery to get an inside edge, that crashed onto his stumps on 81.
Pope said he would have liked to get a hundred but he would build his form and continue from where he left.
“Obviously, would have liked to get a hundred today. You see the hunger among the guys who have been at the top. I want to do everything in my power to get right to the top of my game,” Pope said at a virtual press conference at the end of the day’s play.
“I’m only 23 but I’ve got some good experience in the Test arena (20 Tests), so hopefully, I can build on today and start a good run again,” he added.
Pope made his Test debut against India back in 2018, when the Virat Kohli-led side lost the series 1-4 in England. Since then he has featured in 20 Tests and scored 963 runs at an average of 33.21 so far in his career, where he has been in and out in the team.
Pope said that he learned how to deal with the external noise and is completely focused on cementing his place in the Test side.
“It’s been a stop-start career so far. I made my debut back probably nearly four years ago (three); I’ve been in and out and had shoulder operations. It’s been a learning curve, to be honest. Reminds you to do everything possible to stay in the park firstly, for the last thing you want to do is give someone your spot. I’ve learned a lot about how to deal with the noise, off the pitch kind of thing (sic). I want to be as confident in my game as I can,” Pope said.
I have watched how Joe Root has played in this series: Ollie Pope
England captain Joe Root, who thundered India in the first three games, was outsmarted by Umesh on the first day but still, he is the highest run-corer in the series with 528 runs from six innings. Pope mentioned that he had observed his skipper and noted how to approach the Indian bowling attack with their different plans.
“I have watched how Rooty [Joe Root] has played in this series, how he’s gone about it. Had good conversations with coaches and senior players; I think I recognized that the Indian attack is very skilled. Their main course is to attack that knee roll,” Pope said.
“As a batter, you’re going to get out somehow whether the team is attacking the fifth stump as much as they can or whether they attack the knee roll as much as they can. I recognised that you’ve got to adapt your game accordingly. That’s what I’ve done; probably decided a couple of weeks ago that that was how I was going to go about my business,” he added.
England are leading by 56 runs after India were at 43 for no loss by the end of the second day with the series tied at 1-1.