“We’re seeing England’s greatest ever,” Pope On Joe Root

“We’re seeing England’s greatest ever,” Pope On Joe Root

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13 Jun 2022
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Joe Root

Joe Root hit an unbeaten 163 and Ollie Pope hit his highest Test score of 145 as England reached 473-5 against New Zealand at the close of play on the third day of the second Test. Responding to New Zealand’s mammoth first innings total of 553, Root and Pope took full advantage of a humble pitch with a blistering run at Trent Bridge on Sunday.

Thanks to the pair’s stellar performances, England are in a position to match or surpass New Zealand’s total in a Test that could be destined for a high-scoring draw with two days to go. Strengthening his case for what is regarded as England’s greatest batsman ever, Root’s fourth Test century this year showed the 31-year-old’s stellar form.

He became the 12th highest run-scorer in Test history during his innings, surpassing Pakistan’s Younis Khan and India’s Sunil Gavaskar. Also, he is the only player to score a century in the Fab Four this year.

“We are looking at the greatest player England has ever had,” Pope said. “It is amazing to see him do what he is doing right now. It’s a pleasure to be a part of it.”

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Pope’s second Test century came when he was given a surprise promotion to number three by England captain Ben Stokes at the start of the series. It was Pope’s first Test century since scoring an unbeaten 135 in South Africa in January 2020. The 24-year-old’s place in England has been in doubt several times due to a shoulder injury and lack of form.

But, before the first Test for England or Surrey, batting in a position he had never occupied before, Pope repaid the trust of Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum.

“It was very special. My first home century. It was an amazing feeling. It hasn’t been an easy ride, so it’s good to bat there,” Pope said.

“I know I have the game for this level. It’s about trying to be as consistent as possible. A new role can provide that opportunity.”

Just before lunch, Joe Root top-edged Trent Boult to Tim Southee, who failed to catch the ball. Root enjoyed a stroke of luck and made a cut to reach his century. The entire Trent Bridge crowd stood on their feet and greeted Root’s brilliant innings. It was the day of the peerless route and he reached 150 with a brilliant flick to the boundary for the 13th time in Tests.

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