IND vs ENG: Pope says captain Ben Stokes has “changed the game” ahead of latter’s 100th Test appearance

Not once in the first two Tests has England opted to play with two pace-bowling options. Ollie Pope, the seasoned England batter, indicated that the trend may change come Thursday.

“At the minute it looks like a pretty good pitch. It looks slightly more grass in it than the pitches before, but we always wait until we see the Indian team have a look at the pitch and then see if they want to put some more water on it or if they want to shave the grass off,” Pope said after England’s training on Tuesday morning.

While Pope conceded to  BBC Sport that there is “every chance two seamers will be played”, the plan reflected in England’s preparation during its three-hour training. While Ollie Robinsons bowled a long spell, Mark Wood – with a heavily strapped left leg bowled the longest spell by an England pacer, indicating either of them will pair up with James Anderson.

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While Anderson is five wickets shy of 700 Test wickets, the third Test will be a milestone moment for England captain Ben Stokes, set to become the 16th England cricketer to play 100 Tests. Pope paid a glowing tribute to the allrounder.

“It’s unbelievable. For anyone to play 100 tests is an unbelievable achievement. He has had his highs and his lows in his career, but what he has done since he has been captain has been amazing, and there are so many sort of special moments that you can look back on his career and think, Jesus, [the] guy has sort of probably changed the game a lot in a lot of respects,” Pope said.

“He obviously takes it to a new level when all the pressure is on him. The amount of times he has done that over his career, with 99 Tests so far, is unbelievable. It’s been great to watch. Hopefully, there’s much more success.”

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