sport news Joe Root praises maturity of Ollie Pope after 21-year-old made Test-best 75

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Joe Root praises maturity of Ollie Pope after 21-year-old made Test-best 75 to offer England hopes of winning second Test with New Zealand and drawing series

By Lawrence Booth for the Daily Mail

Published: 07:50 GMT, 2 December 2019 | Updated: 07:51 GMT, 2 December 2019

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Joe Root was full of praise for Ollie Pope after England's accidental wicketkeeper responded to his captain's call for application by batting nearly four and a half hours on the fourth day at Seddon Park for a Test-best 75.

Asked to fill the No 7 role after Jos Buttler tweaked his back on the eve of the game, Pope batted like a veteran – not a 21-year-old playing only his sixth Test innings, and his first in his new position, having already kept wicket for 129 overs while New Zealand compiled 375.

Pope had not enjoyed an auspicious return to the Test team in Mount Maunganui after a 16-month absence, falling to a pair of loose strokes outside off stump for 29 and six. But he reined in his natural game during a stand of 193 with Root, England's highest for the sixth wicket for nearly four years.

Ollie Pope, 21, batted like a veteran for his 75 during England's second Test in New Zealand

Ollie Pope, 21, batted like a veteran for his 75 during England's second Test in New Zealand

Pope, in just his sixth Test innings and his first batting at No 7, made a positive impression

Pope, in just his sixth Test innings and his first batting at No 7, made a positive impression

'He played extremely well,' said Root. 'You look at the way Ollie plays for Surrey: he's very free-flowing, scores quickly

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