Pope’s 196 takes Eng to 420; Ind needs 231 to win Hyderabad Test

Hyderabad: Ollie Pope’s incandescent innings helped England set up a tough fourth innings chase for India before getting bowled out for 420 at the stroke of lunch on the fourth day of the first Test here on Sunday.

Pope (196, 278b, 21x4s) propped up England, who resumed from 316 for 6, as the Indian bowlers failed to make any impact.

India will now have to make 231 runs in their second innings to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

But the lack of a ‘Plan B’ was evident in the way the Indians bowled, often straying to the pads or going way outside the off-stump to give freebies to the Englishmen.

But Pope was not complaining either as he merrily added to the total as England flew past 400 runs in their second innings.

It was only the second time a team managed to go past that mark in India since 2012, and which was the last side to manage that feat?

Alastair Cook’s England, of course, at Ahmedabad!

Pope was helped in his endeavour by an enterprising Tom Hartley (35) as the pair milked 80 runs off 106 balls.

They executed the pre-set strategy of playing sweeps and reverse sweeps to perfection to keep the Indians a befuddled lot.

It required a shooter from Ashwin to snap the stand. Hartley stayed back to play a length ball from the off-spinner but the ball kept low to beat his defence and smashed on to the stumps’ base.

From there India managed to eke out a couple of quick wickets, including that of Pope to bring curtains to England’s innings.

Fittingly, Bumrah, the best of Indian bowlers, ended his stay with a slower ball that dishevelled the stumps as Pope tried a reverse scoop.

Earlier, Bumrah also fetched India’s first breakthrough in the morning session, when he had Rehan Ahmed caught behind.

Ahmed, who till then showed admirable self-restraint, chased a wide one from Bumrah to give a regulation catch to KS Bharat behind the stumps.

However, Ahmed had helped Pope to make 64 runs for the seventh wicket that extended England’s lead.

England’s effort was vastly different from India’s outing on Saturday morning when they lost three wickets for just 15 runs in 54 minutes.

In the corresponding time, the Englishmen added 72 runs in 16 overs, losing one wicket.