The first Test between India and England at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad is turning out to well-fought contest between both teams, courtesy of a generational innings of 196 runs by Ollie Pope. After bundling out for a below-par score of 246 runs in the first innings and conceding 436 runs, England were down and out in the game.
But England made a scintillating comeback in the 2nd innings and showed their prowess with the bat and amassed a huge second innings score of 420 runs on the back of Ollie Pope’s 196 runs, who was the England team’s mainstay in the 2nd innings. The rest of the England batters like Zak Crawley and Benn Duckett got starts on a slow track but weren’t able to capitalize on it.
Pope, along with some assistance from Ben Foakes (34), Rehan Ahmed (28), and Tom Hartley (34) managed to get England a lead of 230 runs in the 2nd innings and set a competitive target of 231 runs for India in the 2nd innings. England maintained a solid run rate of more than 4 in their 2nd innings and made the Indian bowlers toil hard for wickets on a spin-consec conducive wicket.
Joe Root calls Pope's innings one of the best he has seen
England’s premier batter Joe Root praised the batting effort from Ollie Pope and even called it one of the best innings he had seen. Root, who himself has been at the helm of some of the great knocks in subcontinent conditions, could not help himself from showering praises for Ollie Pope.
Speaking about Pope’s innings after Day 3, Root said, “It's one of the best knocks that I've ever seen. I've seen a lot of cricket, played and batted out there in the middle with a lot of brilliant players and to witness that today was really special."
He further added, “I think that's (Pope's innings) the benchmark. Honestly, I might have scored a few runs in the subcontinent. But not on a surface like that against an attack like that. Honestly, that was special today and it gives a lot of confidence to the rest of the group as well seeing Popey stand up like that. He spoke this morning in front of the group to back that up.
"To lead from the front as vice-captain of this team shows a lot about him as a character. And as about us developing as a team. We don't always judge ourselves on results; there are other things and benchmarks we look at, but this is another great step in the right direction in the long-term sense for this group of players.”
Social Media Reaction
Cricket fans also heaped praises on Ollie Pope for his brilliant innings on a spin-friendly track against the dominant bowlers of India. They took to X, formerly Twitter to praise the English batter. Some of the tweets from fans are:
TAKE A BOW, OLLIE POPE...!!! — Priyanka (@Pinky209E) January 28, 2024
196 (278) against Ashwin, Jadeja, Bumrah and Axar. This is an unbelievable display of batting in the 3rd innings of a Test. He's given hopes to England, what a game changing knock by Pope.
Well played my boy🔥— Mumbai Indians FC (@MIPaltanFamily) January 28, 2024
What a innings by ollie pope, a innings to remember from ages 🔥— Kirkett (@bhaskar_sanu08) January 28, 2024
Too bad he missed his double. But what a valiant efforts. From not standing a chance to giving a good enough chance is a great thing. Pope redeemed England.— Apurv Anand (@apurv_anand) January 28, 2024
Missed on a well deserved 200— Praneet Samaiya (@praneetsamaiya) January 28, 2024
Totally Agree.. the best I have seen by a visiting player in India— Omkhar Setty (@omkhar_setty) January 28, 2024
Well played @OPope32 one of the very best— Cerebral Assassin (@Phenom98765) January 28, 2024
What an innings by this young lad— Karthik (@vsk_says) January 28, 2024