A very dogged 61 not out from Surrey batsmen Ollie Pope, allowed England to hold on to some glimmer of hope come close on day one of the first test against South Africa. England closed on 116-6
The Proteas who top the World Test Championships proved why they’re in the position that they’re in (number one in the test table). South Africa, who are led by opener Dean Elgar have a very talented pace attack, which could be too much for The Three Lions.
Andrich Nortje, Kagiso Ribada and Marco Jansen would share the wickets around as England who seem intent on this front-foot cricket mindset, seem to yet again be on course for a low first innings total.
In matches gone by, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root have been able to get them out of trouble, but this South African attack seems very well balanced. Keshav Maharaj, gives the tourists a nice spin option, a left-arm spin option. Visiting skipper Elgar can even send down a few overs if needed.
England, at the home of cricket just seemed like they were the guests as Elgar’s men made themselves at home. Except for Ben Stokes (20), no other batsmen besides Ollie Pope (61 not out) has been able to fight back against the relentless Proteas attack.
Too early to say my next statement with certainty, but Pope seems like a good fit as number three for England. The Surrey man (61 from 87 balls), is striking at 70.11, has constructed his innings nicely as more established players in that England side struggled.
Zak Crawley comes to mind when I refer to a player struggling badly. The Kent man seems devoid of confidence, which is the polar opposite of what could be said about Ollie Pope.
I said this before about Pope, but he reminds me more and more of a certain Ian Bell, and if he continues to play like this, it will only further prove my point. ECB, dare I say it, I think you have your number three sorted, so don’t change him!
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