IND VS ENG, 1st Test: Ollie Pope played a lot of high-risk shots and executed them superbly, says Rahul Dravid

Rahul Dravid credits Ollie Pope’s innings as the turning point in England’s victory over India in the first Test match.

Published : Jan 28, 2024 19:29 IST ,  Hyderabad  - 3 MINS READ

India’s head coach Rahul Dravid.
India’s head coach Rahul Dravid. | Photo Credit: KVS GIRI

India’s head coach Rahul Dravid. | Photo Credit: KVS GIRI

India head coach Rahul Dravid credited Ollie Pope, who hit a magnificent (196, 278b, 21x4) as England beat India by 28 runs to win the first Test at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Sunday.

Dravid opined that Pope’s innings was the turning point in the game as India was bowled out for 202 in 64.3 overs in a chase of 231 runs.

“To be honest, 230 was a pretty challenging score on this wicket in the fourth innings, and it is always going to be challenging in India. 230 runs on a fourth-day wicket, which was turning... We shouldn’t have been chasing 230, but Ollie Pope came out, and played a fantastic innings. He played a lot of high-risk shots and executed them superbly. 196 on that wicket where nobody else got a 50 in their side made the difference in the game,” Dravid said at the post-match press conference.

Pope employed the sweep, and most particularly the reverse sweep, to perfection, which forced the Indian spinners to alter their lengths. The high-risk shot did pay rich dividends as Pope motored on to give England hope and the lead. England rode on his heroics with the bat, and then Tom Hartley picked a seven-wicket haul to humble India.

Dravid was impressed with the Englishman’s shot selection and said: “I certainly didn’t see someone do it that consistently and successfully. Especially the reverse sweep; to play it for that long and successfully, hats off to him.”

READ | IND vs ENG, 1st Test report

In a stiff chase, India needed its young batters like Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, and Shreyas Iyer to counter England spinners and play a match-winning innings. However, none of the batters were able to negotiate the spinners, with Gill falling for a two-ball duck.

Dravid, however, backed the youngsters and said that they would come good as the series progressed.

“I won’t be so harsh to judge them today, and in fact, I think we left 70 runs on the board in the first innings. When the conditions were pretty good to bat on Day two, we got ourselves to good starts but didn’t capitalise. We didn’t have someone getting a hundred for us. The second innings is always going to be challenging... We got close, and we have to get better. A lot of our players are young, and these guys play a lot of white-ball cricket, and they don’t get a lot of time to play first-class cricket. They are learning,” he said.

“It wasn’t a flat wicket by any stretch of imagination, and it turned through the course of the game. It was a challenging wicket, and it’s been a challenge for some of our young batters to adapt, but they are working hard, and they have the skill and ability. They have come here by scoring a lot of runs in domestic cricket and doing well in A-team cricket, and they are picked of merit. It is not that we are picking people out of nowhere, and sometimes it takes a bit of time for people to adjust,” he added.

The head coach said that the Indian spin trio of R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Axar Patel will be more disciplined and will work on which lengths to bowl as the series progresses.

“We just have to get more disciplined as to where to pitch the ball, and we will work on it. We will get better at it, and we have some world-class spinners. One of the good things about our spinners is that they have always bounced back. If we get our execution right in the next Test match, he (Pope) will make a mistake,” he said.

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