BUMBLE ON THE TEST: Ollie Pope has found the balance between looking to score but knowing when to defend

BUMBLE ON THE TEST: England No 3 Ollie Pope has struck the perfect balance between always looking to score but knowing when to defend… but it’s so clear Zak Crawley needs time away from the Test side

England produced a fightback after tea on day two at Lord’s but still trailed by 124 points in the first Test against South Africa.

The hosts reached a measly 165 first innings in the morning session and the Proteas headed for that tally, led by Sarel Erwee who was eventually pulled for 73.

His wicket was one of three taken by England skipper Ben Stokes, who tried to limit the damage in the evening session.

Sportsmail’s DAVID LLOYD picks his talking points for the day.

Ben Stokes tried to limit the damage during the evening session on the second day of the first test

Ben Stokes tried to limit the damage during the evening session on the second day of the first test

SOUTH AFRICA MAKES LIFE HARD

It was a classic case of sticking them in, taking them out, and then seeing the terrain flatten out. It irritated me when people said England was reckless. They weren’t. They were rejected by top quality South African bowling.

There was a clear change in conditions at Lord’s and England had to work much harder for their wickets. But they got their rewards after tea…

THE POPE BLESSES ENGLAND

Ollie Pope is settling in nicely at three o’clock. He played responsibly as the wickets fell around him and it comes down to sound technique in development.

Ollie Pope has struck the perfect balance between always trying to score but knowing when to defend

Ollie Pope has struck the perfect balance between always trying to score but knowing when to defend

The key is that Pope was always looking to score but he knew when to defend. It’s the perfect balance.

TIME IS OVER FOR ZAK

Which brings me to Zak Crawley. It’s so clear he needs time away from the Test side to return to Kent, but there would be absolutely no top-class cricket in mid-August for him. That’s what the Sir Andrew Strauss review has to settle….

It's so clear Zak Crawley needs time away from the Test side after another poor display

It’s so clear Zak Crawley needs time away from the Test side after another poor display

AN OFFER IMPOSSIBLE TO ACCEPT

A word about my supremo ringing the bell Romford Kenny. He has just returned from the Driffield Steam Engine and Traction Rally where he was an enthusiastic exhibitor.

He came back in his West Ham shorts and a vest covered in oil, soot and all manner of mud. He wants to know if I want to go to the next one with him – To Truro! I refused…

HARD ON THE EVIL?

Simon Harmer was a kingpin in Essex County cricket and I was surprised he wasn’t in that South African side.

Essex's Simon Harmer was a county cricketing kingpin but was not chosen by the Proteas

Essex’s Simon Harmer was a county cricketing kingpin but was not chosen by the Proteas

They clearly see Keshav Maharaj as their main spinner, but Harmer has been taking wickets for fun in England for a few years now and I think they are missing a trick. Old Trafford will rotate next week in the second test. But will Harmer play?

THE STARS NEED PLAY TIME

Robert Palmer sang it – looking for clues. Since the last test, Matt Potts has only played one league game and a few white ball games. And Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad didn’t play at all. It can’t be true.

It’s just not preparation for a test. It’s like they didn’t have a game practice in mid-August because of the structure. More food for thought for Strauss….

Matt Potts has only played one league game since last Test - that can't be true

Matt Potts has only played one league game since last Test – that can’t be true

STOKES THINKS ON HIS FEET

There are times when you need a box office where you just need to be unorthodox and have a look. And that’s what Ben Stokes did when he knocked him out to Sarel Erwee and got him caught by Ben Foakes.

Then England changed the ball and Stokes followed by trapping Rassie van der Dussen. Two good thoughts to get things moving….

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