Ollie Pope is aiming for another big showing at Lord’s after admitting he fell short with the bat during England’s Ashes defeat at Edgbaston.
Pope contributed scores of 31 and 14 in the first Test, cut off lbw by Nathan Lyon in the first innings before losing his off stump to an inswinging yorker from Australia captain Pat Cummins in the second.
The latter was probably the best delivery of the match but failing to cash in on either visit left Pope eager to make up for lost time when the series resumes at Lord’s on Wednesday.
“It’s one game, you try not to look too much into who you are playing just because it’s an Ashes series, but I know that you can be remembered by Ashes series and playing amazing knocks,” he said.
“It does give you that extra bit of fire within yourself. Hopefully I can deliver that over the rest of the series. That first innings was a good time to bat. I got myself in, got to 30-odd, and didn’t play a great shot to be honest. Whenever you walk off for 30-odd on a good pitch you have left some out there. Second dig, I put it down to a nice ball, which I don’t normally do, but hopefully I can keep that out next time.”
One thing that he is unlikely to change is a willingness to get after Lyon. The off-spinner had a match to remember in Birmingham, taking eight wickets and helping his side over the line unexpectedly with the bat in the deciding session, but he was also expensive at times as England refused to let him settle.
“We obviously don’t want to lose eight wickets to him, I think we’re reasonably happy. I think we’re going to keep being really positive against him and try and take our strong options,” he said.
“Those eight wickets he got will make us think ‘Right, what was the best option for me?’ a little bit more. That’s the way we see it. He’s a highly-skilled bowler and knows how to bowl when people are coming at him as well, so it’s going to be a good game of cat and mouse I think.”
If Pope needs any additional motivation at Lord’s, he need only stop to glance at the ground’s famous honours board. Waiting for him there is a freshly-engraved entry with his name next to a career-best score of 205, after he dominated the Ireland attack earlier this month.
Australia’s attack represents a major step change from that which Ireland were able to put out, but there are positive recent memories for Pope to mine.
“It’s different (facing Australia), but I wouldn’t say chalk and cheese,” he said.
“You always have grounds you enjoy batting at, and if you know you’ve had success at a ground it does give you a bit of confidence going into it. That just helps your mindset, it doesn’t mean you are going to score runs but it doesn’t mean you won’t. It’s nice to know you’ve had success on a ground in the past.”