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England vs New Zealand, 2nd test

All Pope described his “relief” after recording the second test of hundreds, and first inside, in the second test against New Zealand on the Trent Bridge, saying he hoped his 145 appearances could be the beginning a more consistent run-score period for England after a difficult 18 months.

He also paid tribute to Joe Ruth, his companion during an 187 run stop that formed the basis of England’s response to the terrifying total of 553 first entries published by New Zealand. Ruth was quick to embrace Pope when he reached the milestone shortly after lunch, before continuing to recall his own cool century – the second in a row, the fourth in a year and the 10th in January 2021, resulting in Pope to describe him as the best bat in England.

Pope was recalled to the Lord’s sideline last week after falling after the Cinderella 2021-22, and also moved up to No. 3 – a position he had never played in first division cricket before. One hundred was his second in the Tests, his first since January 2020 and came almost four years after his debut.

“It has not been the easiest route in the last year,” Pope said. “Some tough tours away, I did not play a huge amount last summer. I just crossed the line, it was a relief, but I was so happy. You have to respond to these moments, something I have come to realize in the last year or so.

“I tried to get into that mentality for whatever good cricket I play, I do not want to look too far forward or backward. “Play where your feet are” is the saying we have at the moment. You do not want to be frustrated if you cannot get the right pitch so invest in a good capo.

“But at the same time, 25 Tests is a great honor to have played so many Tests, but I want to perform more consistently than I did last year. But I also feel that I have learned a lot about my game and the cricket test and I hope to I can go ahead and use it as a starting point with the knowledge bank I have already acquired. “

Pope said the emphasis on enjoying the game by England’s new Test captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCallum had helped him break free. He made two cheap appearances at Lord’s and survived when he fell to 41st on Nottingham’s second night, but continued to look for goal opportunities throughout his stint, which ended in a pull-back from the top square into the deep square. – a shot he had twice brought him six.

“You will leave somehow and I think that allowed me to play my game and give me a little more confidence and start to see everything in a slightly more positive light, in the testing arena, because that’s why I do Surrey and this “It’s what brought me great success,” he said.

The aggression shown by England, initially during a stand of 141 between the Pope and Alex Lis – who scored his first test in half a century – and then the correlation of the third wicket between Pope and Root, meant that they collected 383 runs in 88 overs on the third day, a running rate of 4.35 that perfectly reflected the Stokes mantra -McCullum and allowed them to put pressure on New Zealand with two days left for the game.

“The good thing about Trent Bridge is that the outside field is fast, so it’s amazing to fight it,” Pope said. “So as soon as you get in – I think I was 11 out of 40 – you suddenly get away with it and then the scoreboard can just go away. That was something I always had in mind. It may not happen to that extent on the other pitches. “But it was always in the back of my mind that if there was a difficult period, if I could get over it, then there might be some bad balls that you could take advantage of and get the score really ahead.”

While Pope’s 100 percent progress was accompanied by a strange flutter of nerves – even in such an obedient stadium – there was a much crazier air about Ruth jumping in three figures. The century of his 116 bullets was his fastest in the Tests and he cruised during the night session to end the day with the 163 that was not out.

Like Pope, he took advantage of a drop in slips – Tim Southee was only able to tip one cut edge up and away for four. However, he remained uneasy, hurting Southee when he put him between three players on the covers later in the afternoon for one of his 25 blocks. One hundred of them climbed with one blow below the tips of his slender leg, causing a sheep to shrug as he celebrated with Pope.

When he moved to 150 late at night with a whip from South, he brought a nod of disbelief from his leader. An unorthodox slap on the ground followed, full of contempt for Kevin Pietersen. “Shoes off if you love Joe Root”, the slightly confused chant was heard from the stands, as several hundred English fans stood holding their shoes high in greeting.

“We see the best in England ever,” Pope said when asked about his experience hitting next to Ruth. “You do not necessarily want to reproduce what he is doing, but try to learn as much as I can from him. Either that is throwing balls at you for 20 minutes at the end of the session, which he will always do happily. And if he sees something – even in terms of mentality, I try to pick his mind as much as I can, especially when he is in this amazing form.

“The relentless nature of what he does is something I can really learn from. He wants success for his teammates as well as for themselves, so it is a great quality.”

Alan Gardner is Deputy Editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

England vs New Zealand, 2nd test

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