Pope happy to ‘tick off’ maiden Test century
Ollie Pope revealed how a word of encouragement from Ben Stokes to take a late gamble on DRS allowed him to bring up his maiden Test century in Port Elizabeth.
Pope, 22, confirmed his reputation as a likely star of the future with a brilliant 135 not out on day two of the third Test against South Africa, lighting up the stage in just his ninth international innings.
It was a knock of style and substance, spanning almost six-and-a-half hours and finishing in a blaze of improvised glory that marked him out as a player of remarkable range.
He put on 203 alongside Stokes, who crashed his way to 120 in a declaration total of 499 for nine.
Pope was beaming as he walked off undefeated and again after England left the pitch with South Africa 60 for two at stumps.
However, it might have been a different story had he not reviewed an lbw just before lunch, with the Surrey batsman ready to accept his fate on 74 only to change his mind after a last-gasp shout from Stokes.
“When Stokesy told me to review with two seconds left I thought it was clutching at straws a bit,” admitted Pope.
“I thought it would be me heading back to the changing rooms to be honest, but then we saw the replay. It was a pretty good feeling at that point.
“Whenever you go up a level you want to tick off that milestone and score a hundred, it makes you feel a bit more at home in the side, a bit more confident in your ability.
“A lot of people chat and say ‘you can do this, you can do that’ but you’re the one who has got to go and do it. Just knowing I’ve got that first one ticked off is a nice thing. It’s exciting.”
Pope has not had to wait long to reach three figures, just six Tests, but having already cheered a couple of team-mates over the line, he was thrilled to take centre stage.
“It’s quite hard to put into words, it was a pretty special moment,” he said.
“I was lucky enough to see Dom Sibley get his first hundred last week in Cape Town, and I’ve seen Ben Foakes get his first hundred in Sri Lanka too.
“I’ve always sat there watching and been ecstatic for them and thought it must be an amazing feeling.
“It was awesome to look up to the boys in the changing room and see how happy they were. Enjoying each other’s success is something we really enjoy in the dressing room.”
Dom Bess rammed home the advantage by grabbing two late wickets, Pieter Malan caught and bowled and Pope rounding out his day out by holding Zubayr Hamza at silly point.
Mark Wood also gave England reason for optimism, cranking up the pace in a rapid evening spell and hitting Dean Elgar on the elbow.
“The response Bessy got out of the pitch was awesome and then Woody came in and bowled at 150kph, which is really exciting,” Pope said.
“We have definitely got the firepower to take 20 wickets in this match.”
Jofra Archer shows flashes of top form on return from injury
Archer continued his return to action in a Second XI County Championship match at Hove.
Chris Jordan says suspending IPL ‘the right call’ as he awaits return to England
There has already been plenty of debate over whether the tournament should have continued as long as it did during a public health emergency.
On this day in 2011: Alastair Cook was named as England’s new ODI captain
Cook replaced Andrew Strauss, who retired from one-day cricket, while Broad took over from Paul Collingwood.
Former Australian Test cricketer victim of targeted kidnapping, police say
MacGill played 44 Tests for Australia and took 208 wickets.
England contigent start to return home after IPL postponed due to coronavirus
The majority of England’s players at the tournament are expected to fly home imminently.
English contingent aiming to secure flights home with IPL postponed due to Covid
Positive cases in three of the eight franchises effectively proved that the players’ bio-secure bubbles were no longer able to stave off the threat.
Q&A: What’s happened to this year’s IPL and what does it all mean?
There are 11 English representatives still involved.
IPL postponed with immediate effect amid rising coronavirus cases in India
The BCCI does “not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved” in organising the tournament.
England replaced at the top of ODI rankings but keep Twenty20 crown
New Zealand now top the one-day international table, with England down in fourth.
Yorkshire seal dramatic one-run victory against Northamptonshire at Headingley
Steven Patterson had Wayne Parnell caught behind in a dramatic finish.