5 talking points from England vs India day two as Pope plays crucial innings


Ollie Pope scored an important 81 which helped England recover from 62-5 to reach 290 in the fourth Test against India

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The second day of the fourth Test between England and India saw Joe Root’s side earn a first innings lead of 99 runs, largely thanks to a brilliant 81 from Ollie Pope.

India started the day perfectly, with Umesh Yadav picking up two wickets within the first eight overs.

Yadav first removed nightwatchman Craig Overton for one, before getting Dawid Malan caught at second slip for 31.

At that stage, England were 62-5 and facing a potential collapse, but Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow had other ideas.

The pair launched an impressive counter-attack, sharing a partnership worth a hugely important 89 runs.

Mohammed Siraj was the man able to break that partnership, getting Bairstow out LBW for 37.

Pope was able to continue with his impressive knock, reaching his half-century and sharing another key partnership worth 71 runs with Moeen Ali.

Ravi Jadeja claimed Ali’s wicket for 35, bowling a slower delivery which Ali slog-swept to Rohit Sharma.

Pope unfortunately missed out on reaching his hundred, getting bowled by Shardul Thakur for 81.

Chris Woakes then added some more important runs, extending England’s first innings lead before they were eventually bowled out for 290.

In response, India reached 43-0 before the close of play, with Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul safely negotiating the final 16 overs of the day.

Here are five talking points from the day’s play.



Umesh Yadav became just the sixth Indian seamer to take 150 Test wickets
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Image:

Julian Finney/Getty Images)




Yadav’s return

In his first Test appearance since December last year, Yadav made a pretty impressive return to international duty, taking 3-76.

Yadav’s dismissal of Overton early on day two was his 150th Test wicket and he went on to pick up one more wicket.

In doing so, Yadav became just the sixth Indian seamer to reach the milestone, joining an illustrious list alongside Kapil Dev, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Javagal Srinath and Mohammed Shami.

Yadav bowled excellently alongside Bumrah early on day two, having also picked up the key wicket of Joe Root late on day one.









Bairstow and Pope’s counter-attack

With England staring down the barrel of another batting collapse, Bairstow and Pope looked to wrestle the momentum back in their favour with a counter-attack.

The managed to find the boundary regularly and ran hard between the wickets in their 89-run partnership – England’s highest sixth-wicket stand this year.

Reflecting on Bairstow and Pope’s partnership at lunch, former England captain Michael Atherton said: “India just couldn’t find any control in that last hour – Pope and Bairstow played beautifully and England starting to gain some control.”



Ollie Pope played a crucial knock of 81 for England but could not go on to reach his hundred
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Image:

Gareth Copley – ECB/ECB via Getty Images)




Pope makes his opportunity count

With Jos Buttler missing this game to be with his wife as they expect their second child, Pope was handed an opportunity to return to the Test team that he otherwise may not have been afforded.

And the hugely talented 23-year-old made it count with a superb 81 when England needed him most.

Pope has had a tough year with injury and had not made a score of over 35 in his 13 previous innings this year, but he was able to put all that behind and share some important partnerships with Bairstow and Ali to help England take the lead.

Unfortunately, he fell just 19 runs short of making his second Test century, but it was an excellent knock which could have a more effect on the result of this match.

Speaking on BBC Test Match Special, Vaughan said: “Ollie Pope got a great ovation and absolutely he deserved it. It’s been a high-class innings.

“I have seen Pope play some nice knocks, particularly that hundred in South Africa. But that is the first I’ve watched him and thought ‘there is a bit of a sheer classy player in Ollie Pope’.

“He has just got to stay fit, keep playing the way he has played in this innings in terms of the technical side. Whatever he is felt today, go and write it down.

“Get a little black book and write down your thoughts and mindset. Then try to repeat that. He looked a high-class Test player today.”









Bairstow’s inability to convert

Bairstow has enjoyed a pretty good return to Test cricket against India, with Root the only England batter to have scored more runs than him this series.

However, the 31-year-old has struggled to convert his starts into big scores.

He has played 14 Test innings this year and made 10 quarter-centuries (scores of 25+), but just one score of more than fifty.

His innings at The Oval was yet another example of this as he reached 37 before getting out LBW.

It was an important knock in the context of the game, but Bairstow has not scored a Test century in almost three years and England need him to put an end to that run.



Chris Woakes scored an entertaining 50 to stretch England’s first innings lead to 99
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Image:

DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)




Woakes shows all-round importance

After picking up 4-55 on day one of his first Test match in over a year, Woakes made another telling contribution on day two – this time with the bat.

His half-century was the second-highest score in England’s innings and saw him strike 11 boundaries, more than any other England batter.

Woakes helped England stretch their first innings lead to 99 and his innings was a timely reminder of his impressive all-round capabilities.

Speaking on BBC Test Match Special, former India wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta said: “Another brilliant knock from Chris Woakes. These are valuable runs for England. He can play orthodox and play his shots as well. Such an important cog in the wheel for England.”





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