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1st Test: India would be hoping to restrict England to less than 150, says Anil Kumble

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1st Test: India would be hoping to restrict England to less than 150, says Anil Kumble

Hyderabad, Jan 27 (Ajit Weekly News) After Ollie Pope smashed an unbeaten 148 to put England into a lead of 126 runs at the end of day three’s play in the first Test, former India captain Anil Kumble said the hosts would be hoping to keep the visitors’ lead to less than 150, otherwise the run-chase would become a tricky proposition.

Pope’s knock of 148 meant England finished day three’s play at 316/6, converting a deficit of 190 runs into a lead of 126 runs. With England still having four wickets in hand, the second new ball will be crucial to India, when it becomes available after the first three overs of day four, in a bid to keep England’s lead below 150.

“Ollie Pope was brilliant. India would be hoping that they will be able to come back tomorrow and restrict England to less than 150. It is going to be a tricky run chase, regardless of what the bowling lineup or the quality because it is the fourth innings of a Test match, where the ball is keeping certainly low and it just takes a couple of important batters to get out early – you don’t want panic to set in.”

“Obviously, India have the batting lineup and need to get these four wickets, they can’t let them get away from the score that they are. Pope looked to unsettle the Indian bowlers, it was a clear plan that he had, and it worked for him,” said Kumble on ‘Match Centre Live’ show on JioCinema and Sports18.

With the pitch going slower and slower, it meant the batters had time to adjust their strokeplay against the bowlers. Pope hugely benefitted from it by blunting the spinners with good use of his feet and wrists, survived a fiery Jasprit Bumrah spell, and executed the conventional sweeps and reverse sweeps to good effect to play one of his best knocks in Test cricket.

“England is in a good position in this match, the spell from Bumrah made us believe that Indian bowlers might dominate the match, but Ollie Pope had different intentions. The pitch required you to have a solid defence along with all your shots to survive longer.”

“The self confidence that Pope showed, the way he shuffled between front foot and back foot, his innings was commendable. He took the Indian bowlers by surprise, and he deservingly was the player of the day,” said former India fast-bowler Zaheer Khan on Pope’s knock.

The sweeps and reverse-sweeps from Pope, as well as openers Ben Duckett and Zak Crawley, will be a regular feature in the series for the visitors’, according to former England batter Owais Shah.

“Ollie Pope and Ben Duckett, both used the reverse sweep to good effect and scored a lot of runs, but what was impressive was the use of wrists to take singles and doubles. And speaking about the sweeps, that is something England have planned, and we will continue to see a lot of that in this series.”

Pope also shared a 112-run stand for the sixth wicket with Ben Foakes (34) and had a reprieve at 110 when Axar Patel dropped his catch off Ravindra Jadeja. Kumble, the former India head coach, believes things could have been different for the hosts at the end of day three’s play if the catch wasn’t dropped.

“What happened before that is something that you don’t want to see on a cricket field if you are part of the Indian cricket team because everyone’s shoulders just drooped. Just before that, Ollie Pope had stepped out and hit Axar Patel over mid-wicket for a four.”

“And you could see from the commentary box – all the players had their heads down and their shoulders drooped which is something you don’t want to see if you are part of the team management and are observing the body language of a team. And this perhaps went into what Axar must be thinking when the ball came to him.”

“You can’t be too harsh; he is an excellent fielder. I mean he will catch those 10 out of 10 times. But it was an important wicket and if India would’ve gotten Ollie Pope’s wicket, then things could have been different,” he concluded.

–Ajit Weekly News

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News Credits – I A N S

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