Former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen expressed strong criticism of England’s batting approach after their defeat on Day 4 of the second Test against India in Visakhapatnam. England, chasing a target of 399, started the day at 67/1, needing 332 more runs to win. However, they were bowled out for 292, with Ravichandran Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah taking three wickets each.
Pietersen believes that England’s batters were in a rush to chase the target, leading to their loss. He emphasized that the achievable score was within limits, and had one of the batters applied themselves, the team could have secured a victory. Pietersen particularly pointed out Ollie Pope and Joe Root’s approach, stating that they seemed too eager to score boundaries on every ball.
“The England batters were in a hurry, and that’s why we lost the game. The score was within limits, and had any batter stayed back, the team would have won the game. Ollie Pope was looking to take singles or score boundaries on every ball, and the same happened with Joe Root. Root is a legend of the game, but he should have tried to stay at the crease. The wicket was good for batting, but the players didn’t stay long enough to make a charge for the total,” Kevin Pietersen remarked on Jio Cinema.
During the first session of the day, both Ollie Pope (23 off 21) and Joe Root (16 off 10) fell victim to Ravichandran Ashwin. Pope’s dismissal involved a sharp catch by Rohit Sharma at first slip, while Root, in an uncharacteristic manner, hit two fours and a six in his initial ten balls before succumbing to an ill-fated shot.
In the ongoing series, Root has struggled, managing just 52 runs in four innings at an average of 13. On the other hand, Pope has been the second-highest run-scorer with 243 runs at an average of 60.45.
With an eight-day gap between the second and third Tests, which start on February 15 at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot, both teams will have time to regroup and prepare for the next encounter.