‘An absolute masterclass’: Joe Root lauds Ollie Pope after England fightback | Cricket News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: England’s seasoned batter Joe Root lauded Ollie Pope‘s outstanding unbeaten knock of 148 on Saturday, setting a new standard for batting in Indian conditions as the tourists staged a comeback on day three of the opening Test.
Facing a challenging situation at 163-5 while trailing by 190 runs in their second innings, Pope dominated the day with a remarkable innings in Hyderabad.
Engaging the Indian spinners with well-executed sweeps, Pope orchestrated a batting spectacle, featuring a notable 112-run partnership with wicketkeeper Ben Foakes.
By the end of the day, England had reached 316-6, establishing a lead of 126 runs and leaving the Indian bowling attack in search of solutions following early breakthroughs.
“Honestly it’s an absolute masterclass on how to bat in these conditions as an overseas player,” Root told reporters.
“Someone that’s not exposed to these surfaces day in day out and to come back off a serious injury like he had in summer and have that amount of time out of the game and then put together that… I’m speechless.”
Root, who has scored over 11,000 runs at an average of over 50 in 136 Tests, added: “It’s one of the best knocks that I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen a lot of cricket.
“To witness that today was really special. I’m so, so pleased for him.”
Pope struck his fifth Test ton and first against India to stand calm after England lost key batsmen including Root (two), Jonny Bairstow (10) and skipper Ben Stokes (six).
Root’s own mastery of the sweep and reverse has seen him successfully counter spin on sub-continent tracks, but he said Pope’s knock had shifted the standards.
“I’m not any more. I think that’s the benchmark,” Root said.
“I might have scored a few runs in the sub-continent. But not on a surface like that against an attack like that. Honestly, that was really special today and it gives a lot of confidence to the rest of the group as well.”
Root was taken back to some special knocks by Alastair Cook (176 in Ahmedabad) and Kevin Pietersen (186 in Mumbai), both when England last won a Test series in India in 2012.
“They’re all very different. I think you sit here very emotional being part of today and how things have gone. The cramps, soreness, the fatigue, the pressure moments when we lost clusters of wickets, I just think it had everything.”
Vice-captain Pope, 26, is playing his 39th Test since his debut in 2018, having scored more than 2,000 runs with a personal best of 205.
He missed part of the Ashes series at home last year with a dislocated shoulder and Hyderabad is his first Test in more than six months.
(With inputs from AFP)

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