India’s HYDERABAD, January 27, (AP): On Day 3 of the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium Test match against India, England stormed back thanks to a century from Ollie Pope.
With three crucial partnerships and a final score of 148 not out, Pope helped England reach 316-6 in 77 overs during the second innings, taking a 126-run lead into stumps.
This came after India’s reply to England’s 246 in the first innings saw them knocked out for 436. By the tea break, the hosts’ lead of 190 runs had all but evaporated.
England’s post-lunch strategy of playing reverse sweep against spin proved to be highly effective. Pope and Ben Duckett added 68 runs to their partnership at the second wicket.
After their stand collapsed in just 57 balls and rattled the Indian camp, Jasprit Bumrah stepped in to respond quickly.
After Bumrah reversed the ball, Duckett was bowled out for 47 runs. He made seven fours out of 52 balls faced.
With just two runs needed to trap Joe Root, the Indian speedster quickly claimed his second wicket, bringing England to 117-3 in just 21 overs.
Pope and Jonny Bairstow shared a 23-run partnership before the latter was bowled shouldering arms to Ravindra Jadeja.
Jadeja went for runs throughout the day and ended with 1-101 in 26 overs while bowling just one maiden despite that success.
Ravichandran Ashwin claimed a wicket as well, using a quick off-spinner to dismiss Ben Stokes (6). England went to tea at 172-5, suddenly five down.
Ben Foakes and Pope had the most important partnership of the English innings at the restart. With both batsmen aiming to score at every chance, they scored 112 runs off 183 balls, applying more pressure to the Indian spinners.
In the previous session, Pope achieved 50 off 54 balls and proceeded to reach his first second innings century off 154 balls. Considering that England lost a few more wickets, the second fifty runs was more relaxed, but later in the final session, the scoring rate increased.
Pope was dropped on 110 off Jadeja, with Axar Patel knocking down a regulation opportunity after yet another reverse sweep.
Patel atoned for his actions by bowling Foakes for 34 runs, which gave India a crucial victory. Pope, however, continued to deny the hosts, scoring another 41 off 62 balls to tie Rehan Ahmed (16 not out) for the seventh wicket without a break.
It was only the fourth occasion an English batsman had hit a second innings hundred in India, following Ken Barrington (1961), Mike Gatting (1984), and Jonathan Trott (2012).
Joe Root bagged 4-79 earlier in the morning session as India collapsed from 421-7 overnight to lose three wickets for 15 runs in 21 deliveries.
Jadeja was out for 87, elbw to Root, who was denied a hat trick, and lost out on his fourth test hundred.
The English top order picked up speed in their second innings, reaching 89-1 after 15 overs before lunch, cutting India’s lead to 101 runs.