Defiant Pope not giving up Ashes First Test hope despite England chaos


ngland were skittled for just 147 by Australia on the opening day of the Ashes but Ollie Pope believes an unlikely first victory at The Gabba in 35 years is not yet beyond them.

They were soon 29 for four, with only helpful contributions from Haseeb Hameed, Pope and Jos Buttler taking them to 147 – but none could go on against Australia’s relentless attack. Even on a green pitch under cloudy skies, that feels plenty under par.

Rain prevented England bowling in the final session after being dismissed in 50.1 overs on the stroke of tea.

Junior batter Pope was asked to front up to the media after a tough opening day during which Root – who made one of three England ducks – was facing questions over his decision at the toss and team selection, with both James Anderson and Stuart Broad left out of the XI.

In stark contrast, Australia’s new captain Pat Cummins took five wickets in an outstanding display from his bowlers.

“It obviously wasn’t the end result we wanted but we’re not going to get too down about it now, both teams have got to bat on this wicket,” said Pope.

“It was a disappointing start especially, so there was frustration that we haven’t been able to put on the big score we wanted. The pitch did offer a fair bit early, especially off the seam so we are frustrated as a unit.

“It’s a long tour, a long series and we’re going to keep the spirits high and come out fighting tomorrow.”

Pope felt England’s troubles were a combination of rust – England’s practice cricket was wrecked by rain – and good bowling, but believes batting could become more difficult as the game progresses.

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