Ollie Pope was on 81 when the 23-year-old reached for a Shardul Thakur delivery and edged it into his stumps. It was his second-highest score for his country, an innings that carried his team from crisis towards a measure of supremacy, and it ended with the batsman heaving his bat into the ground in frustration.
It was an opportunity missed, and not just to assist Chris Woakes in his attempt to take the game away from India in the final session. Because there is something about the pavilion at the Oval that makes Ollie Pope particularly enjoy waving his bat at it, and he had seemed destined to get another chance.
Ollie Pope Returned In The England Test Team With A Superb 81 And Was Gutted On Missing Out On A Ton
More than three years after his Test debut, Ollie Pope is back in the side after Jos Buttler’s decision to prioritize the birth of his second child and representing England at the Oval for the first time. As a Surrey player, he might be expected to feel particularly at home on this ground, but not everyone manages to convert that feeling of familiarity into consistently high scores as Ollie Pope has.
Ollie Pope’s dismissal for 81 meant his first-class average at The Oval dropped from 100.71 to 99.40. He now has 1,491 runs there in 19 innings, with seven centuries (and four not-outs).
“To be honest I was pretty gutted,” Ollie Pope told Sky Sports. “At my home ground, it would have been a bit of a dream to have got over the line. But I guess if someone said you’d get an 80 first game back you’d have taken that, but I’m gutted all the same.”
It took India only four balls to dispose of Craig Overton, England’s nightwatchman, and bring Ollie Pope to the crease. England was 53 for four, soon to become 62 for five when Dawid Malan fell, like Craig Overton, to Umesh Yadav, courtesy of an excellent diving catch at second slip. At this stage, India’s once-trifling total of 191 had developed a daunting, menacing distance as the home side toiled on the lower slopes of a molehill.
As on the first day Shardul Thakur had inspired a sudden rush of runs that shifted the momentum of the game, only this time it was with the ball in his hand rather than a bat. It started with Ollie Pope and three excellent shots in four deliveries, all of which sped to the rope.
Ollie Pope made 81 on his Surrey home ground and all-rounder Chris Woakes exactly 50 before England was dismissed for 290 in reply to India’s first-innings 191 on the second day of the fourth Test.
India Was 43 For No Loss Behind By 56 Runs At Stumps On Day 2
India was 43-0 in their second innings at stumps, a deficit of 56 runs. Rohit Sharma was 20 not out and KL Rahul 22 not out, with this intriguing five-match series level at 1-1. England was struggling at 62-5 early on Friday after paceman Umesh Yadav, playing his first Test in nearly a year, removed Craig Overton and Dawid Malan in a return of 3-76 in 19 overs.
But Ollie Pope, only recalled because Jos Buttler missed the match on paternity leave, revived the innings during partnerships of 89 and 71 with Jonny Bairstow (37) and Moeen Ali (35) respectively.
This was Ollie Pope’s first half-century in 16 Test innings since a 62 against Pakistan in Manchester last year and also extended the 23-year-old excellent record at the Oval where, prior to Friday, he had scored 1,410 runs at an average of 100.71 in 18 first-class innings.
Warwickshire paceman Chris Woakes, who’d already marked his first Test in over a year by leading England’s attack with 4-55 on Thursday, then blazed his way to a fifty in just 58 balls in front of a sun-drenched crowd.