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"This is the last of the flat wickets" - Ollie Pope reveals Virat Kohli's warning during first Test

Ollie Pope (left) and Virat Kohli
Ollie Pope (left) and Virat Kohli
Modified 02 Apr 2021

England batsman Ollie Pope has revealed that Virat Kohli warned him of turning pitches in the series, midway through the first India-England Test in Chennai.

This Test was the only one in the 4-match series where England batsmen looked comfortable at the crease. On a track that offered negligible assistance to bowlers on the first two days, the visitors notched a mammoth 578, thanks to Joe Root's double ton. The visitors won the Test by 227 runs to take a surprise lead in the series.

During a media interaction on Friday, Ollie Pope recounted feeling apprehensive about the next three games after the Indian captain's 'last flat wicket' of the series warning.

"In the second innings, the pitch started spinning quite a lot. I remember standing at the non-striker's end and Kohli came up to me and said 'this is the last of the flat wickets'. At that point, I knew it was probably going to be quite a challenging rest of the series from a batting point of view," said Ollie Pope.

Virat Kohli's words proved prophetic, as the next two Tests were played on raging rank turners, and English batsmen failed to score even 170 across four innings. The pitch for the final Test didn't produce a sharp turn, but the English batsmen lost wickets against straight deliveries while playing for turn.

England lost all three Tests to lose the series 1-3.

Even Joe Root and Ben Stokes found the conditions 'toughest' they have ever faced: Ollie Pope

Ollie Pope
Ollie Pope

Ollie Pope, who struggled a lot against the likes of R Ashwin and Axar Patel throughout the tour, said even the team's senior-most players found the conditions some of the 'toughest' they have ever faced.

"Chatting to the more experienced guys like Joe Root and Ben Stokes, those guys were pretty much saying exactly the same: these are the toughest conditions they've played in. If those guys are saying it as well, you know how challenging it is," said Ollie Pope.

The 23-year-old added that it was actually a 'compliment' for his team that the hosts had to change their gameplan for the final three Tests.

"I'm not saying (India) felt they had to produce those wickets, but the fact they've gone away from their flat wickets for three days, then spin on day four and five, which is generally the theme out there, it was quite a compliment to us in how we went about our business and a compliment to our bowlers. That shot us in the foot a little bit, but it's a good compliment to us as a team because they obviously felt they had to change their gameplan," concluded Ollie Pope.

Ollie Pope was the third-highest scorer for England in the Test series, scoring 153 runs at an average of just over 19. He is currently plying his trade for Surrey in the 2021 English County Championship.

Published 02 Apr 2021, 18:29 IST
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