Root praises ‘maturity’ of Pope as he announces himself with Test-best

Ollie Pope England

England captain Joe Root has praised the “maturity” of Ollie Pope as the pair put on a 193-run stand in 62.3 overs, with the Surrey youngster contributing a Test-best 75.

Pope boasted a remarkable first-class average of 57.52 in 34 matches before this Test while his strike-rate of 63.61 indicates a fluent batsman, but Root was impressed by his junior partner’s assessment of the situation here.

FULL SCORECARD: New Zealand v England, second Test

Root said: “He played extremely well. You look at the way Ollie plays and has played for Surrey in county cricket; he’s very free-flowing, someone that scores quite quickly and likes to put pressure on bowlers.

“I thought at times he realised it was a slow pitch and not as free-scoring as you might find around the world and what you might get in county cricket, but he showed a lot maturity in the way he went about it.

“I thought he read the situation really well, showed great maturity and I’m really pleased for him to get a good contribution in this innings.”

The union was a major factor in turning a 106-run deficit at the start of the day into a first-innings lead of 101, although the Black Caps went to stumps on 96 for two, almost wiping out the arrears.

The nature of the surface plus the forecast for rain for much of day five meant a draw was the likeliest outcome, which would hand New Zealand a 1-0 series win following last week’s defeat of England at Mount Maunganui.