India captain Rohit Sharma continues to impress at first slip in this series and took a stunning reflexive catch of Ollie Pope in the second innings of the second Test in Visakhapatnam.
Pope, who scored a match-winning 196 in the second innings in Hyderabad, was dismissed for 23 in the second innings in Vizag courtesy of a clever piece of bowling from off-spinner R Ashwin and a brilliantly taken catch from Rohit Sharma.
From round the wicket angle, R Ashwin bowled a length ball that bounced a touch extra than Pope perhaps anticipated as he rocked back for a cut shot. The ball took the outside edge of Pope’s willow and quickly went between wicketkeeper KS Bharat and Rohit, who was standing at a slightly wider first slip.
Rohit Sharma showed his sharp reflexes and agility in moving his hands to his left to grab the ball. It felt that even Rohit himself was surprised by such a quick take, but it all came down to the hours of slip catching that had built his muscle memory to pull off such spectacular catches. Ashwin celebrated it with a big leap as the Vizag crowd went berserk.
Watch: Rohit Sharma pulls off a stunner at first slip to dismiss Ollie Pope
Sharp Reflexes edition, ft. captain Rohit Sharma! 👌 👌
— BCCI (@BCCI) February 5, 2024
Meanwhile, India have taken a stronghold on England’s innings with five wickets in the first session on Monday morning. Chasing 399, England started the day at 67/1 and by Lunch, their score read 196/6. R Ashwin, who had gone wicketless in the first innings, now has three wickets in his kitty and is just one scalp away from 500 Test wickets.
Axar Patel first removed Rehan Ahmed, the nighwatchman, before Ashwin and Kuldeep got in the act to dismiss Pope, Root, and Crawley, who scored 73 runs. Jasprit Bumrah struck at the stroke of lunch with Jonny Bairstow’s wicket and now only Ben Stokes stands between India and a victory.