BUMBLE ON THE TEST: Ollie Pope’s emergence in his 25th Test has been superb


BUMBLE ON THE TEST: Ollie Pope’s emergence in his 25th Test has been superb, while Ben Foakes’ calmness has really benefitted England

  • The emergence of Ollie Pope in his 25th Test match is a major boost for England 
  • Ben Foakes’ calmness at the crease has also been a significant positive
  • Ben Stokes has demonstrated a calm assurance as England’s new Test captain 

England have the chance to pull off an unlikely victory against New Zealand going into the final day of the second Test at Trent Bridge. 

There were plenty of positives to take from proceedings for England, including the performance of Ollie Pope. 

Sportsmail’s DAVID LLOYD offers his thoughts and insights on the day’s play.

Ollie Pope made a major impact in his 25th Test – it’s fantastic to have seen his emergence

FEELING JOLLY ABOUT OLLIE 

It’s been great to see the emergence of Ollie Pope in his 25th Test. Have England found a player at last to fill the problem No 3 spot? 

In my opinion, there’s another good’un waiting out there, Yorkshire’s Harry Brook, who good judges are saying is the real deal.

And keep an eye on his team-mate George Hill, a 21-year-old opener from Keighley.

FOAKES LOOKS THE BUSINESS 

Someone who’s quietly going about his business is Ben Foakes. 

There’s always a bit of noise about what England want from their wicketkeeper, but he is a wonderful gloveman and his calmness at the crease has benefited England. 

He seems an intelligent cricketer who can assess a situation, and was quite happy to play second fiddle to Root, just as he did in the run chase at Lord’s. 

Ben Foakes has gone about his business quietly and his calmness has benefited England

Ben Foakes has gone about his business quietly and his calmness has benefited England

BEN’S GOT TEAM BUZZING 

There looks to be a real buzz in the field under Ben Stokes.

Joe Root is like a spring chicken after his release from the captaincy, and after almost every over Stokes, Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson get together and look busy with their planning. 

Stokes has shown a calm assurance as captain, which goes against the perception of his character. And it appears to be infectious. 

Ben Stokes has shown a calm assurance as captain, which appears to be infectious

Ben Stokes has shown a calm assurance as captain, which appears to be infectious

WHEN I MET MORRIS MEN… 

After my mention of the Knaresborough bed race, I wondered if I’d mentioned long-sword dancing in Goathland? 

That reminds me of the time I was in a pub and saw some Morris dancers in full regalia having a pint. I asked if they’d just finished. 

To which one replied: ‘You don’t think we do this sober, do you?’ 

POOR ETHEL AND ERNIE 

As the game went through a quiet period on Monday, my thoughts turned to classic TV show A Place in the Sun. Does anybody ever buy one? 

Typically, you’ll have Ethel and Ernie from Chingford — who would look more at home on a doorstep with a can of White Lightning shouting at nextdoor’s kids, than a balcony in Marbella. 

CONWAY SHOWS HIS CLASS 

The third innings in a Test match can often be vulnerable for the batting side, and New Zealand had a tricky period against Broad and Anderson in tough conditions before lunch. 

But Devon Conway played with great skill, and pulled off some lovely reverse sweeps off Jack Leach after the interval. 

Devon Conway played with great skill and pulled off some lovely reverse sweeps after lunch

Devon Conway played with great skill and pulled off some lovely reverse sweeps after lunch

CAN’T BEAT A CLASSIC 

I’m a sucker for classic cars. I’m just coming to the end of a full restoration of a Land Rover Defender. It’s ready some time this week.

I’ll be using it to combat the highways and byways of North Yorkshire’s many villages. I am so excited. 

If I smoked — a filthy habit, by the way — I would definitely pass my fags around. 

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