Bess is the third spinner England have tried in recent times, and he has definitely caught the eye of everybody. The question here – Can Dominic Bess be a special character for England in Tests?
England has taken a grip over Pakistan in the second Test being held at Headingley, Leeds. The 2nd day witnessed plenty of rain before England rallied on to get 302/7. The home side pushed their first innings lead of 128 – after persistent drizzle prevented the game in the morning session before reducing the day to 59 overs. Earlier, Pakistan was shot out for 174 on Day One.
The talk of the town is nightwatchman Dominic Bess, who made a gritty 49. The highlight of his innings was a sturdy 72-run stand with David Malan. England’s batsmen came together on the day to chip in with valuable scores and their position could earn them a Test win to draw the series 1-1. Having said so, England could finally get a scent of victory, after failing to win any of their previous 8 Test matches.
At a time when they have struggled at large and there have been too many faces in and out of the team, a player like Dom Bess coming in and taking his opportunity will please the management.
With the blockbuster Test series against India starting August 1, Bess could be in the line-up against Virat Kohli’s side. A few weeks earlier, who would have imagined that? Cricket’s a funny game indeed and Bess may be having the best laugh in the end.
Bess shows character against Pak
Credit should be given to a young gun making his debut for England and making himself heard against a spirited Pakistani side. In the first Test at Lord’s, Bess scored a defiant 57 runs in the second innings and now he followed it up with another meaningful knock of 49. When it comes to temperament, one can quickly notice that the youngster, if guided and groomed well, could be of huge value in the long-haul.
In the 2nd Test, Bess was employed as nightwatchman, and he looked as comfortable as any of his team-mates on Day Two. The 20-year-old played handsome drives through the off side off the front and back foot and energetically looked for singles, occasionally diving for his ground. The talented individual was on the verge of a second 50 in as many matches, when he guided leg-spinner Shadab Khan to slip.
Bess gives a timely headache to selectors
His Somerset team-mate Jack Leach was chosen during the Test series against New Zealand, and was ruled out for these two matches owing to a broken thumb. The 26-year-old left-arm spinner played a lone Test to pick two wickets and score a total 0f 30 runs. Then there is Mason Crane – the player was given a chance in the 5th Ashes Test in Sydney earlier this year. But he was decimated by the Aussies after ending with figures of 1/193.
Bess hasn’t picked a wicket though, but the offie will be raring to have a go with the ball and a scalp or two, could tilt the tide in his favour for the upcoming series against India.
Can Bess be the quality spinner England need?
What has happened to the English spinners? Post Moeen Ali chapter, three bowlers have been tried and collectively all they have is three wickets in three Test matches. But one must see two things here. 1) The pitches so far have favoured quicks and 2) They have all been freshers in the England side and haven’t had the run.
So what does England do now? If Ali isn’t going to come to their plans for Test cricket, then one must give the baton to one of these spinners, so that they get into the groove of featuring in a series of Test matches. The confidence could build. That’s where someone like Bess comes into play.
Now with the side already having seen him and the attributes he can offer, one may wonder he could go on to become a special character in the making. England needs wickets by its spinners and the more Bess will bowl, the better the chances. Can the youngest finger-spinner for England get the nod against India? We will have to see.
He is so far without a wicket, having not been given many opportunities with the ball, so will be looking to further demonstrate his credentials in the Pakistan second innings.
Impressive first-class record
He has a total of seven five-fors in his 17 first-class games already. The Somerset player’s numbers in first-class is pleasing to the eye. His off-spin was a key component in Somerset’s Championship challenge in 2016. The player’s fortune changed on his debut in Taunton where the pitch was a rank-turner. 21 wickets fell and Bess found himself acknowledging the cheers of the crowd as he took 6 for 21 on Championship debut.
What added to the feat was the wicket of Warwickshire’s former England pair of Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott in successive balls. The player also showed that it wasn’t just a one-game show after he ended up with a superb 5/43 against Nottinghamshire in Somerset’s final match of the season.
The player alongside Leach bowled well in tandem in 2017. And what’s been a positive ride so far, Bess went on to take 63 wickets. For a player, who has featured in just one T20, and six List A matches, it shows why he could be a special talent with the red ball.