Ollie Pope double, Jamie Smith ton put Surrey in control

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Pope savours home comforts en route to stunning 245 as senior partner to Smith, who impresses with 123

Leicestershire 375 and 21 for 0 trail Surrey 672 for 8 declared (Pope 245, Smith 123, Foakes 87, Clark 61*) by 276 runs

Ollie Pope went to sleep on 91 not out after the first day of England’s third Test against West Indies last summer, and as he drew back the curtains of his hotel room at Old Trafford and looked down at the pitch below, he allowed himself to wonder whether the backdrop of 26,000 empty seats might feel like something of a letdown when he reached his first home hundred. A few minutes after 11am, with his off stump knocked out of the ground by Shannon Gabriel, he realised that it might not be an issue.

In that light, it was not surprising that he seemed anxious as the close approached at the end of the second day of this game. He had turned down a single at the start of the final over of the day in order to keep the strike, but accepted his fate and nudged one off the second ball. When he woke up on Saturday morning to clear blue skies and walked to the ground with 92 to his name, the prospect of a behind-closed-doors hundred loomed large.

But this time, things were different. The pitch was flatter, and the attack weaker. He woke up in his own bed, stopped in for a coffee on the way to the ground, and crucially – as far as his superstitious tendencies were concerned – he remembered to keep his headband on.

“Against West Indies, I was wearing a headband the day before; I didn’t go out to bat with it the next morning and didn’t score another run,” he joked at the close. “I thought if I did the opposite this time it might help. Those bubbles are very intense – we have fun in them but they are tough. To be able to go for a morning coffee before the game and switch off in the evening in your own home is such a nice change.”

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