After a swashbuckling innings of 81 against India in the fourth Test at Oval, Ollie Pope is of the opinion that it will be hard for the hosts to get early wickets on Day 3. He added that he changed his stance after seeking help from Joe Root and other senior players to face the Indian bowlers.
England at one point struggled against the Indian bowlers as they lost the early wickets of the openers to Jasprit Bumrah and all hopes were upon the star of the series, Joe Root. But, Umesh Yadav, who played his first Test in the series clean bowled Joe Root when he was on 21. Yadav went on to pick David Malan on the second day to give the visitors a much-needed confidence boost.
Ollie Pope, who was not included in the playing XI for the first three Tests received a call to fill the space of Jos Buttler in the fourth Test. It was Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow who restored the momentum for the hosts with an 89-run stand for the fifth wicket. Pope also stitched a crucial partnership of 71 runs with Moeen Ali to claim a 99 run lead for the hosts. The Chelsea-born cricketer scored 81 runs before Shardul Thakur scalped his wicket at a crucial point in time for the visitors. The 23-year-old batsman stated that the hosts will have to bowl harder to get early wickets on Day 3. He added that the bowlers will have less assistance from the pitch compared to Day 1.
"The pace of the game would probably change a little bit now. With that ball softer and the outfield quick enough, we might toil a bit longer for wickets. Hopefully, we can go and get the rewards," the 23-year-old told reporters after day two's play.
Pope stated that he made few changes to his stance and technique after watching Joe Root playing in the series against the Indian bowlers.
"To be honest, I watched the way Root played this series and had some good conversation with the coach and some senior players. I've recognised the Indian attack is very skillful and they attack the knee roll. As a batter, you have to adapt and accordingly a couple of weeks ago I made the decision."
The 23-year-old cricketer played his first Test in the ongoing five-match series at his home ground. He added that he was happy to contribute to the team which helped the hosts to claim a 99 run lead against India.
"I really enjoyed it, first Test as well at my home ground so it was a special, special occasion for me. I trusted my game and defence and was happy to have contributed and put the side in a decent position," he said.