India head coach Rahul Dravid lauded Ollie Pope's incredible innings but, at the same time, has thrown his weight behind the spinners. Pope scored a superb 196 to put England on top and set India a competitive target of 230, after wiping off a first innings deficit of 190.
He employed his sweeps and reverse sweeps to perfection, leaving Dravid in awe.
"I certainly haven’t seen that being done that consistently. We have seen teams doing that before, people have played some exceptional innings, but to be able to play it that consistently and that successfully without making that many mistakes, maybe one or odd mistakes here and there, I probably haven’t seen it for a long time," Dravid said after India's 28-run loss in the first Test in Hyderabad.
"Especially the reverse sweep, the sweep is something that people employed in the past. But to be able to play reverse sweep that consistently and that successfully for that long. Hats off to him, credit to him."
Pope's brilliance put a lot of pressure on the Indian spinners, all of whom went for over four an over combined. Dravid, though, believes his they can bounce back in the next Test.
"We have got to get more disciplined on where to pitch the ball. We will work on it. We will get better at it. We have got some world-class spinners. Not the first time we are being challenged. One of the good things about our spinners is they always come back, they always bounce back," Dravid said.
"I think he truly played an exceptional innings. It's one of those games where you sometimes have to just... you talk about it a lot in sports that you come out and give your best and when somebody does something exceptional, you shake his hand and congratulate it.
"I haven't seen a better exhibition of sweeping and reverse sweeping ever in these conditions against that quality of bowling."
Dravid put the bowlers' below-par performance in the second innings down to poor execution, which is something they will work on in the days leading up to the next game.
"For us, now it's important to respond. We respond and we come up with some plans and some strategies. Probably make him play those shots from difficult lengths and be even more meticulous with our execution. I thought our execution was a little bit off. Not by much, credit to him, and hopefully in the next Test match, if he we get our execution right, hopefully, he makes a mistake," the head coach explained.
With this win in Hyderabad, England lead the five-match Test series 1-0. The two teams will clash again in the second Test, which will be played in Visakhapatnam from Friday (February 2) onwards.