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Updated January 27th, 2024 at 22:54 IST

I am speechless, an absolute masterclass, gushes Root on Pope's stunning ton

Senior England batter Joe Root said he was left "speechless" after Ollie Pope made a stunning hundred to lead their fightback against India on the third day of the first Test here on Saturday.

Ollie Pope
Ollie Pope | Image:AP
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Senior England batter Joe Root said he was left "speechless" after Ollie Pope made a stunning hundred to lead their fightback against India on the third day of the first Test here on Saturday.

Pope made an unbeaten 148 off 208 balls as England closed the day at 316 for six, to be ahead of India by 126 runs.

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"I'm speechless. It's one of the best knocks that I've ever seen. I've seen a lot of cricket. Played and batted out there in the middle with a lot of brilliant players and to witness that today was really special," said Root in his post-day press meet.

"I didn't mind when he big-dogged me and said 'can you do the press (conference)' because to manipulate the field as he did against that attack, on that surface, to show the powers of concentration, determination, fitness and skill…immense," Root added.

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The former England captain was chuffed for Pope because it's not easy for an overseas batter to come to the sub-continent and make an impression.

"Honestly, it's an absolute masterclass on how to bat in these conditions. As an overseas player, someone who's not exposed to these surfaces, and to come back off a serious injury like he had in summer and have that amount of time out of the game and then put together that… outstanding," said Root.

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Pope was ruled out of the Ashes series against Australia in June last year with a dislocated shoulder and the Hyderabad Test was the Chelsea man's first match since then.

Root said Pope has grown into one of the leaders of the dressing room.

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"He grasped the moment, took responsibility and then backed it up in his actions. That's what you want from leaders within the dressing room. He's certainly become one of those over the last year or so.

"It's just great to see, as an old-timer in this team. It's great to see these young lads coming in and really putting their stamp on things and making it their team." Root who has seen several cricketing summers, battles and scars said his efforts are no longer the benchmark after Pope's effort on the day.

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"I'm not any more. I think that's the benchmark. Honestly, I might have scored a few runs in the subcontinent. But not on a surface like that against an attack like that.

Honestly, that was really special today and it gives a lot of confidence to the rest of the group as well," he signed off. 

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Published January 27th, 2024 at 22:54 IST

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