WATCH, NZ vs ENG | Ollie Pope works magic at silly point with grabs out of thin air to stun Kiwis

WATCH, NZ vs ENG | Ollie Pope works magic at silly point with grabs out of thin air to stun Kiwis

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Daryl Mitchell was left shocked by Ollie Pope's effort in the field to dismiss him



There is an old adage in cricket that catches win matches and in no other format does it hold truer than in Tests. Ollie Pope showcased yet another reason behind England's recent domination as two brilliant instinctive catches right by the stumps gave the team a firm foothold against the Kiwis.

England paved the path for a streak-extending victory in Wellington on Saturday as the bowlers built upon the good work of the batsmen on the first day to end up with a 297-run lead with the Kiwis having just three wickets to spare. Joe Root added 52 runs to his overnight score of 153 even though Harry Brook fell early to take the team to 435/8 before Ben Stokes decided to declare and have a go at the Black Caps batsmen. The decision paid off as James Anderson wreaked havoc with the new ball to reduce the Kiwis to 21/3 before Jack Leach starred later in the day to restrict the hosts to 138/7 at stumps.

Henry Nicholls provided some resistance after Anderson had snared three, with a valiant 30 off 38 deliveries but was eventually outdone by some Ollie Pope genius in the field, further stamping Bazball's authority in the game. In the 25th over, Leach from around the wicket delivered a ball at the stumps with minimal turn to the left-hander, tempting him into a reverse sweep. However, the kookaburra caught a tiny edge before looping up in the air briefly. Pope, stationed at short leg, instinctively flopped around in his spot before putting in a last-ditch desperate dive to his left, only to emerge with a one-handed stunner.

Daryl Mitchell was the next to depart after a 13-run cameo, yet again victim to Pope's immaculate cricket brain. This time positioned at silly point in the 35th over, Pope was right at the edge of the pitch as he waited to pounce on a mistake by Daryl Mitchell. A loose defence off a straight delivery from Leach meant the ball was in the air for just a moment but it was enough for Pope as he leaned in and grabbed the ball out of thin air with his right hand. The two catches completely changed the dynamic of the game and are bound to make any and every highlight reel.ย 

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