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England’s Ollie Pope following Trent Bridge hundred: ‘I have learnt from unbelievable Joe Root’

Ollie Pope: “I had a chat with Joe Root about leaving the ball and I think my weakness was probably that fifth stump area. I have come to realise it is easier to leave the ball with it further away from you” | Technical tweaks and tips from Root pay off as England No 3 hits second ton

Last Updated: 12/06/22 8:46pm



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Ollie Pope says he enjoyed batting with Joe Root after he hit 145 on day three of the second Test against New Zealand

Ollie Pope says he enjoyed batting with Joe Root after he hit 145 on day three of the second Test against New Zealand

Ollie Pope said he had learnt from the “unbelievable” Joe Root after scoring his second Test hundred – and seeing his team-mate continue his staggering form with his 27th.

Pope struck 145 on day three of the second LV= Insurance Test against New Zealand at Trent Bridge, his first century since being promoted to the No 3 spot and maiden ton on home soil, with his previous hundred for England coming against South Africa in Port Elizabeth in January 2020.

The 22-year-old shared a 187-run stand with Root (163no off 200) as the hosts closed on 473-5, cutting their deficit to 80.

Watch the best of Pope's second Test century and first on home soil

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Watch the best of Pope’s second Test century and first on home soil

Watch the best of Pope’s second Test century and first on home soil

Root’s hundred, his fourth in his last five Tests, was also the fastest of his career, coming from just 116 balls.

Speaking to Sky Sports Cricket at stumps, Pope said: “It was awesome out there. I really enjoyed it, batting with Rooty. He is unbelievable and doing it week in, week out.

Pope reached three figures in the afternoon session at Trent Bridge

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Pope reached three figures in the afternoon session at Trent Bridge

Pope reached three figures in the afternoon session at Trent Bridge

“He is so relaxed when he bats. He is in so much control. From a technical point of view, he scores so many runs down to third man. That’s what I do when I am playing well as well, so it’s a good little reminder for me.”

Pope batted with an off-stump guard during his travails in The Ashes this winter, when he averaged just 11.16 across six innings, but has since shuffled across towards middle stump, which appears to have opened up the off-side and improved his defensive technique.

Pope added: “It didn’t really work in Australia!

It’s not been the easiest ride over the last year or so but I’ve never doubted my game for Test cricket. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about my game and a lot about Test cricket and hopefully now I can take that forward and use this as a starting point.

Ollie Pope

“I had a chat with Rooty about leaving the ball and I think my weakness was probably that fifth stump area.

“I have come to realise it is easier to leave the ball with it further away from you. I have played a fair bit of red-ball cricket now and it is something I am learning as I go along.

“I know I am in a pretty good place if I am cutting the ball and I have learnt a lot from Root. I wasn’t perfect so there are still things to work on but hopefully it is a stepping stone.”

All the best moments from day three in Nottingham with our Late Cut video

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All the best moments from day three in Nottingham with our Late Cut video

All the best moments from day three in Nottingham with our Late Cut video

New England captain Ben Stokes said before the New Zealand series that he was “adamant” he wanted Pope in his team and backed him to become “one of England’s great batters”.

Pope added: “Australia was tough, I didn’t play in the West Indies and I wasn’t necessarily sure I’d be the first man on the team sheet for this series so to get over the line was great.

“To hear Stokesy [wanted me in the team] and the confidence [managing director of cricket] Rob Key and [Test coach] Brendon McCullum have given me is great.

“It is a very satisfying [hundred], the first one at home as well. It was an amazing feeling when I passed it.

“It’s not been the easiest ride over the last year or so – a few tough tours away and I didn’t play a massive amount last summer – but I’ve never doubted my game for Test cricket.”

Watch how Root reached yet another Test hundred

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Watch how Root reached yet another Test hundred

Watch how Root reached yet another Test hundred

Root, a week after becoming the 14th player in Test history to score 10,000 runs, was at his imperious best again at Trent Bridge.

The 31-year-old – who resigned as captained in April after five years in the role – has now scored 2,355 runs in 22 Tests at an average of 60.38 since January 2021, with 10 hundreds.

Sky Sports Cricket’s Mark Butcher said: “It is not supposed to be this easy. He is making batting look like the most simplistic exercise. Every time he goes out there he scores runs. The scoreboard starts to fly.

Extended highlights from day three as Root and Pope's hundreds cuts England's arrears to just 80

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Extended highlights from day three as Root and Pope’s hundreds cuts England’s arrears to just 80

Extended highlights from day three as Root and Pope’s hundreds cuts England’s arrears to just 80

“He is not muscling it to the fence but if you are slightly off with your line, he hits it for four. If you are on the pads, it’s four. If you are wide of the stumps, he will hit you to third man. He is having a ball.

“You can’t say the captaincy was affecting his batting but now there is a swagger about him.

“He looks like he is thoroughly enjoying it – and thoroughly enjoying brining on the youngsters. He was more pleased for Pope’s hundred than Pope was!

“It is a pleasure to watch. We are honoured to watch a guy as good as this going about his business.”

Watch day four of the second LV= Insurance Test between England and New Zealand, at Trent Bridge, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.15am on Monday.



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