Joe Root confident debutant Ollie Pope will be ready for Test jump to number four position

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England captain Joe Root believes batting at four could be “quite a jump” for Ollie Pope but is confident the Surrey youngster will rise to the challenge in the second Test against India.

Pope has never batted in the top five in the County Championship but will make his Test debut at Lord’s as a direct replacement for Middlesex left-hander Dawid Malan.

The 20-year-old has played only 15 first-class matches in his fledgling career but his 684 championship runs at an average of 85.5 this season thrust him into England contention.

Root confirmed Pope’s inclusion in the XI and said Essex seamer Jamie Porter would miss out.

However, conditions on Thursday morning will dictate whether spinner Moeen Ali or seamer Chris Woakes is drafted in to replace Ben Stokes, absent this week because of his ongoing court case in Bristol.

“We’ve got a 12. Jamie Porter is the unlucky one to miss out,” Root said. “With the surface as it is, having looked at it today, we’re going to leave it another 24 hours and then make a decision in the morning.

“Ollie will come in and bat at four. He’s obviously batted at six for Surrey this season – but having seen him play a little bit, and the way his game is set up, I think it’s very much transferable to bat at number four in Test cricket.

“I know that might be seen as quite a big jump. But he’s obviously an exciting talent and, with the guys around him, I think he fits nicely into that position in our team.”

Root spoke in glowing terms of a batsman who last winter was commended in a New South Wales parliamentary speech after a successful stint with Campbelltown-Camden in Sydney grade cricket. “He’s very mature for a young man,” Root said.

“I can see that he thinks about the game a lot and has a very good understanding of where he’s at within his own game – which is a really good sign in a young man, coming into this environment. I hope that will stand him in really good stead.”

Above all, though, Root hopes the youngster can replicate the form he has shown for Surrey this year as England look to build on last week’s thrilling 31-run victory over India at Edgbaston.

“I think he’s performed exceptionally well this season in County Championship cricket,” Root added.

“He’s played some very important knocks under pressure for Surrey, and he’s got a very good all-round game. That’s a very exciting prospect for such a young man, to have the ability to play in that manner.

“I’m looking forward to him, more than anything, just going out there and being himself – and playing exactly as he has done throughout this summer.”

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England v India Test: The key stats ahead of Lord's showdown

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The stakes are high as England take on India in the second Test at Lord’s after taking a 1-0 lead in Birmingham.

England will be without Ben Stokes for the crucial Test while young batsman Ollie Pope is set to make his debut.

Here, we take a look at some interesting stats ahead of the second Test which starts on Thursday.

6 – wickets James Anderson is away from 100 wickets at Lord’s. The swing ace has 94 scalps from 22 Tests at the ‘Home of Cricket’.

1 – Only one bowler has managed to pick up 100 or more wickets at a single ground in Tests – Muttiah Muralitharan at Colombo, Kandy and Galle.

3 – Ishant Sharma needs six more wickets to become the third Indian pacer to pick up 250 or more Test wickets.

4 – wins and as many defeats in the last 10 Tests at Lord’s for England. That includes two defeats to Pakistan and one to India.

36 – Tests as captain for Virat Kohli. India have never fielded the same XI in successive Tests under Kohli’s leadership.

42 – India’s lowest-ever Test total of 42 was posted at Lord’s in 1974.

67 – runs India opener Mural Vijay needs to complete 4,000 Test runs.

136 – number of Tests played at Lord’s – the most at any ground. Melbourne comes in second at 110.

687 – Ollie Pope is set to become the 687th cricketer to play Test cricket for England. He will play at Lord’s after making his first-class debut last year.

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From Hameed to Malan, a look at the last five batsmen to debut for England in Tests

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Haseeb Hameed (l) and Dawid Malan.

England will hand 20-year-old Surrey batsman Ollie Pope his Test debut against India at Lord’s on Thursday.

The batsman has an impressive first-class record with 1,012 runs in 15 matches since his debut last year.

With Dawid Malan dropped from the team after a string of low scores and multiple dropped chances in the slip cordon at Birmingham, Pope will become the 687th player for England in Tests.

But what about the last five batsmen who were handed Tests caps by England. We take a look at what they did.

MARK STONEMAN

Tests: 11, Runs: 526, Avg: 27.68, 50s: 5

England v Pakistan: NatWest 1st Test - Day One

Before Pope, Stoneman was the last batsman to win a Test cap for England. He opened the innings with Alastair Cook against the West Indies in Birmingham in 2017. He made just eight in his first outing as Cook smashed a double ton. He didn’t get a chance to bat again in the game as England won by an innings. He was decent without being impressive in the Ashes Down Under last season as he made two fifties in five Tests. Now 31, has been pushed out of the side with England going for the younger Keaton Jennings.

TOM WESTLEY

Tests: 5, Runs: 193, Avg: 24.12, 50s: 1

The Essex batsman played his first Test against South Africa at The Oval last year. Batting at one down, Westley scored a fifty in the second innings. But that would be the only half-century of his Test career. Thereafter, the Essex batsman registered five successive single digits scores at home – which included matches against the West Indies – resulting in an abrupt end to the 29-year-old’s Test career.

DAWID MALAN

Tests: 15, Runs: 724, Avg: 27.84, 100s: 1, 50s: 6

One of the more promising batsmen to emerge in England, especially in the temperament department. The 30-year-old Middlesex batter started off well in the middle-order, with his best effort of 140 in the Ashes in Perth in December expected to take him through this season. However, a startling dip in form – which included just one fifty in his last 10 innings – plus dropped chances in the Birmingham Test saw the left-hander omitted from the team for the Lord’s Test.

KEATON JENNINGS

Tests: 8, Runs: 373, Avg: 24.86, 100s: 1, 50s:  1

CRICKET-ENG-IND

The 26-year-old started off with a bang – scoring a century against India in Mumbai. However, he didn’t play in the Ashes Down Under after struggling against the Proteas last year. Following a fifty against India in Chennai in 2016, hasn’t scored a single half-century. Back in the mix as Cook’s opener, scored 42 crucial runs in the first innings in Birmingham against India.

HASEEB HAMEED

Tests: 3, Runs: 219, Avg: 43.80, 50s: 2

A heartbreaking story. It seemed England had found a long-term Test opener in the now 21-year-old. He showed exemplary courage and application as he was dismissed for a single digit score just once in three Tests  against the Indians in 2016 before a finger injury paved the way for Jennings’ debut. However, as he recovered away from the Test team, his domestic form dropped like a stone. Technical flaws have reportedly seeped into his game. However, the Lancashire batsman has time on his side.

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