England’s second innings in the Hyderabad Test against India showcased their innovative approach to counter spin, particularly with the use of the reverse sweep. Ollie Pope and Ben Duckett’s strategic use of this shot helped England gain a significant lead, turning the game around.
Paras Mhambrey, India’s bowling coach, acknowledged England’s boldness in employing unconventional strokes. He stated, “If a batsman starts to access different areas, it’s always going to be a challenge. Someone like Pope who played, he accessed the square, fine leg area as well and the sweep and the reverse sweep and he played it consistently. Credit must go to him.”
Mhambrey emphasized the need for patience and precision in dealing with such tactics, saying, “We still have to be patient with the lines, still hit the right areas and hope to get a wicket. Hope to get an edge or something or the other. That can happen.”
Joe Root, England’s captain, elaborated on the mindset required for playing these shots effectively. He explained, “When it’s consistent spin you can work out when to take it on, and which balls from which line you can take a risk on. The most important thing is you don’t think you are going to miss at all. Have that mindset of committing to the shot and nailing it for four or one, or whatever.”
Root praised Pope’s execution of the reverse sweep, noting, “Pope did it exceptionally well. It took until 110 to make a small error when he got dropped. There were a couple of balls that ripped past his outside edge but you expect that; it’s part and parcel, almost like in England when it’s swinging and seaming around, and you almost give yourself a pat on the back because you’ve not chased it. It’s exactly the same here. It was a really special knock.”
Despite England’s success with these tactics, India remains undeterred. Mhambrey expressed confidence in India’s ability to adapt, stating, “If you look at the way the game has progressed over the last three days, looking at the first session, the amount of balls, the pace of the wicket, the pace of the spin, it got better in the second innings and I think it’s only going to get a little better.”
The innovative batting display by England has added a new dimension to the ongoing Test match, setting the stage for an intriguing battle between bat and ball.