‘This is the last of the flat wickets’ – Ollie Pope on warning given by Virat Kohli in the 1st Test
After winning the first Test, England proved no match for India in the remaining three games of the series.
Updated - Apr 2, 2021 4:45 pm
England batsman Ollie Pope has insisted India captain Virat Kohli had warned him about turning wickets mid-way through the first Test between the two teams in Chennai. The second Test of the four-match series was also held at the same venue before Ahmedabad hosted the last two games. England managed to do well with the bat in only the first Test and went on to win the series-opener by 227 runs.
Skipper Joe Root scored a brilliant double-century to guide his team to a mammoth 578-run total. In the second innings of the same game, England were all out for just 178 but their first-innings total helped them win the clash. However, in the following three games, they proved no match for India as the hosts thrashed them with ease to win the series 3-1.
In the last three Tests, the visitors managed to cross the 200-run mark just once in six innings with India spinners wreaking havoc. In fact, the third Test which was a pink-ball Test ended in less than two days. Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel were the destructors-in-chief, sharing close to 60 wickets between them as England struggled against the spinners.
‘This is the last of the flat wickets’
England’s stunning capitulation against India’s spinners triggered a debate over the quality of the pitches. Several former England cricketers including Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss had slammed the quality of pitches. And Ollie Pope has perhaps added fuel to the fire by claiming that Kohli had warned him about turning wickets when England were doing well in the first game.
“In the second innings, the pitch started spinning quite a lot. I remember standing at the non-striker’s end and Kohli came up to me and said ‘this is the last of the flat wickets’. At that point I knew it was probably going to be quite a challenging rest of the series from a batting point of view,” Ollie Pope said during Surrey’s pre-season media day at the Oval.
Pope further revealed that even the likes of Root and Ben Stokes found the conditions very challenging to bat. At the same time, the right-handed batsman stated that it was actually a compliment for their batsmen and bowlers that India had to change their ‘gameplan’ in the final three Tests.
“Chatting to the more experienced guys like Joe Root and Ben Stokes, those guys were pretty much saying exactly the same: these are the toughest conditions they’ve played in. If those guys are saying it as well, you know how challenging it is.
“I’m not saying [India] felt they had to produce those wickets, but the fact they’ve gone away from their flat wickets for three days, then spin on day four and five, which is generally the theme out there, it was quite a compliment to us in how we went about our business and a compliment to our bowlers. That shot us in the foot a little bit but it’s a good compliment to us as a team because they obviously felt they had to change their gameplan,” he added.