Ollie Pope says scoring runs at Lord’s and scoring runs in Test matches is a habit, a good habit to get into early
The home side batsmen made merry before putting Ireland in a lot of trouble by the time Stumps were drawn, extending England’s dominance over Ireland in the one-off Test at Lord’s with a maiden double hundred from Ollie Pope and a career-best 182 by Ben Duckett.
The home side batsmen made merry before putting Ireland in a lot of trouble by the time Stumps were drawn, extending England’s dominance over Ireland in the one-off Test at Lord’s with a maiden double hundred from Ollie Pope and a career-best 182 by Ben Duckett. Pope’s knock, which was also the fastest double hundred in England and his first hundred at Lord’s, is something the 25-year old hopes to be motivated from as England play the Ashes in less than two weeks’ time.
Before this game, Pope had only one half-century at the Lord’s in seven innings, averaging 27.50. Pope termed it “special” and hoped that it would help him develop the habit of accumulating big scores, even though it was his first three-figure score at this venue against an attack that might not be as penetrative as some of the other teams.
“It’s very special. Lord’s is not somewhere I’ve done that well over the years, I think I got 70-odd against South Africa but other than that I’ve hardly scored a run here. So, it’s nice to get that one off my back, especially leading into a big summer. There’s no denying that Australia’s attack is stronger than Ireland’s but scoring runs at Lord’s and scoring runs in Test matches is a habit, a good habit to get into early,”Pope said after the second day’s play on Friday (June 3).
Pope did not have the best of times during the 2021–22 Ashes series; he only managed to score 67 runs in six innings, average 11.16 with a highest of 35. From August 2020 to the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s in June 2022, Pope struggled to score runs, managing just two half-centuries in 26 innings.
“That last tour was a big learning curve for me. If I’m being brutally honest I don’t feel like I knew my game well enough and probably wasn’t putting quite enough time in. I’d hit a lot of balls in the nets and think I was training in a good fashion, but I wasn’t thinking about my technique and how to attack each style of bowler. That’s not me saying I wasn’t working hard enough, because I was. I was probably not working smart enough. That’s where I’ve got better over the past 12 months or so,”admitted Pope.
Pope, however, has scored 997 runs in 21 innings since the Nottingham Test against New Zealand in June 2022, with three hundreds and five fifties, averaging close to 50, and the runs have come at a strike rate of 80.01.
Pope is hoping to continue in the same vein during the Ashes. “There’s no denying the fact there are more eyes on Ashes series. It’s important I go about it the same as I have in every other Test over the last year. Hopefully the runs come from there.”
The double centurion also praised debutant Josh Tongue, who picked up all three Ireland wickets that fell towards the end of the day as the visitors ended Day 2 at 97/3, trailing by 255.“For him to dive into that role he did this evening…the way he did that was perfect. He has been awesome this week; he looks the part and has been great around the changing room too. I don’t think you would know it’s his debut,” said Pope.