Chris Tremlett: Pope should follow Curran’s lead on England debut


It was a fantastic match at Edgbaston and having come out on the right side of it England should arrive at Lords for the second Test against India tomorrow in a buoyant mood.

Ben Stokes is a big loss to the side, but if, as expected, Chris Woakes comes in hes a worthy replacement. When on form hes a fantastic bowler and a handy batsman.

All eyes will be on debutant Ollie Pope, who has enjoyed a great start to his career with Surrey, averaging 63.25 in first-class cricket.

Read more: Ollie Pope: Young Surrey batsman's journey to England Test debut

Hopefully he can slot in at four and not think about it too much. There should be no pressure on him. He will be hoping for a nice sunny day and for England to win the toss on a flat pitch to give him the best chance.

The 20-year-old has only played 15 first-class matches so we cant expect too much. He should be able to play in a similar way to his Surrey team-mate Sam Curran, who has totally proved me wrong when I wrote his call-up might have come too soon for him.

He has shown that the young generation is full of confidence and are equipped to deal with setbacks. Theyre up for the fight, as Curran demonstrated with a vital 63 at Edgbaston that got England back into the game.

There should be no fear of failure for the youngsters. Its down to senior batsmen Alastair Cook, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow to shoulder the burden.

Theyre under pressure because theyre not scoring the hundreds they should be. England have not reached 400 in 13 innings. They need to be more consistent to allow the youngsters time to bed in.

Sam Curran was man of the match in the first Test against India at Edgbaston last week (Source: Getty)

Cook was out twice in near-identical fashion in the first Test to Ravichandran Ashwin and knows he will be targeted in the same way again. Hes still scoring big hundreds every now and then but the consistency isnt there.

Meanwhile, Root is frustrated – hes scored 11 fifties now without converting into a hundred. He needs to get the monkey off his back because the longer the streak goes on the more it will build.

But both Cook and Root have their names on the Lords honours board, which will help them psychologically.

The groundsman has been watering the pitch heavily during the dry weather, but if theres not much green to the wicket Lords is a win-the-toss-and-bat venue.

In the last few years weve seen spin there – Moeen Ali got a 10-wicket haul against South Africa last summer – so it could come into the game.

As ever for England though, the key is likely to be how Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad bowl. The duo know how to use the conditions and the much spoken of slope, which is a clear advantage.

However, Ishant Sharmas career-best figures of 7-74 came at this ground in 2014 and he also took 4-59 in 2011 against a side I played in, so hes got plenty of experience of Lord's.

England are favourites, but – along with the conditions – the toss may prove decisive.

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