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Ollie Pope confident England will not let intensity drop behind closed doors

:Headline: Ollie Pope confident England will not let intensity drop behind closed doors:
England face the West Indies in a three-Test series behind closed doors.

Ollie Pope insists England will not allow the absence of fans to dial down their Test match intensity when they face the West Indies in a deserted Ageas Bowl next week.

England's 29-man training group warmed-up for the return of international cricket with a three-day internal match in Southampton and many were struck by the eerie silence that greeted them in the ground.

There has been some talk of piping in crowd noise or using music between overs to fill the void but Pope, who made a free-flowing 55 not out on the final afternoon before the match ended in a draw, is sure that the occasion will not be diminished.

Fast bowler Mark Wood made his own attempt at lifting the spirits this week, at one stage singing Jerusalem from the top of the pavilion while waving a flag as the teams walked out to the field of play.

"I hope he does it again, it was outstanding. He's got the voice of angel," said Pope, in a charitable review of his team-mate's tunefulness.

Pope's half-century was one among a handful of useful batting contributions on the final day of the intra-squad match, with a further seven players passing 30.

Of those there were lengthy stays for openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley, each occupying the crease for more than an hour and 45 minutes, while Zak Crawley looked in good touch. Ben Stokes, next week's stand-in captain, launched Matt Parkinson for three sixes in an over and finished with 33 not out in just 17 balls before the draw was agreed.

Ben Stokes found the boundary for his team (Stu Forster/Pool/PA)

Yet the most welcome development of the day came from someone who was not even involved, with Sam Curran testing negative for Covid-19. He spent Thursday's play self-isolating in his room after feeling unwell but he was given the all-clear during the afternoon and emerged to watch the final session from pitch-side.

"I think we were trying to focus on the cricket but I don't know how you deal with those situations," Pope said of the overnight health scare.

"It's good he tested negative for the virus and he's feeling a lot better and ready to go. It was nice to see him back out there today."

Curran and Pope can both expect to survive the next squad cut on Saturday morning, with selectors keeping on 22 players ahead of the first Test. Captain Joe Root has already left the group to be with his family for the birth of his second child.

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last updated article - 2020-07-03 19:24:47:
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CLiverpool38323385335299
2Manchester CityMan City382639102356781
3Manchester UnitedMan Utd381812866363066
4Chelsea382061269541566
5Leicester CityLeicester381881267412662
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs3816111161471459
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves381514951401159
8Arsenal381414105648856
9Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd381412123939054
10Burnley38159144350-754
11Southampton38157165160-952
12Everton381310154456-1249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381111163858-2044
14Crystal Palace381110173150-1943
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914153954-1541
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham38109194962-1339
17Aston Villa3898214167-2635
RBournemouth3897224065-2534
RWatford38810203664-2834
RNorwich CityNorwich3856272675-4921
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CLiverpool38323385335299
2Manchester CityMan City382639102356781
3Manchester UnitedMan Utd381812866363066
4Chelsea382061269541566
5Leicester CityLeicester381881267412662
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs3816111161471459
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves381514951401159
8Arsenal381414105648856
9Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd381412123939054
10Burnley38159144350-754
11Southampton38157165160-952
12Everton381310154456-1249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381111163858-2044
14Crystal Palace381110173150-1943
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914153954-1541
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham38109194962-1339
17Aston Villa3898214167-2635
RBournemouth3897224065-2534
RWatford38810203664-2834
RNorwich CityNorwich3856272675-4921
Scroll for more - Tap for full version
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