Sam-Curran

When a series is hyped to the level of the current India vs England Test series the talks invariably revolve around the big stars – and with good measure; but that in some ways masks others players from the public view.

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On day one, it was Ravichandran Ashwin who won plaudits on a day that was supposed to be headlined by the pacers. On day two, with Indian batting – after Mohammed Shami ended England’s innings at 287 with the tenth ball of the day scalping Sam Curran – the battle was supposed to be James Anderson and Stuart Broad against India’s top four.

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England did win the battle sending back India’s top three inside the first 16 overs, but the damage was done by the seldom mentioned 20-year-old Sam Curran instead of the two decorated English pacers.

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Curran came in as the first change bowler and picked three wickets in a span of eight deliveries to put India in the ever so familiar position. With Virat Kohli in the middle early, Anderson had his tail up and even induced an edge that Buttler grassed in the slip cordon. At the first break on day two, India had managed 76 for three.

To India’s credit, they started well with Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan taking the score to 50 for the opening wicket. Both had nervy starts – a quick single almost led to Vijay’s wicket and the Tamil Nadu opener was stuck in the crease when Anderson decided to review the umpire’s call, but he survived.

Broad had issues overstepping and  gave away 22 runs in his four overs. But Curran changed the complexion of the game when he was introduced in the ninth over. The left-armer got the ball to move in to the right-hander and one such big inswinger had Vijay trapped in front. Umpire Chris Gaffaney ruled it not out, but Curran was so sure that he got Root to take the review and that was England’s first breakthrough.

India’s new number three KL Rahul walked out to the middle and was off the mark with a thickish outside edge through the slips with a four. Next ball, Curran gets it wide without much movement but Rahul was chasing it with an angled bat and played it on to his stumps. An over later, Curran set up Dhawan beautifully.

He squared up Dhawan two balls earlier with a good length delivery that took the edge and flew wide of the third slip. Next one on middle and off, swinging away, Dhawan let it go but third, full and swinging out, the opener went for the drive, edging it to Dawid Malan at second slip.

 Brief Scores: India 76/3 (Shikhar Dhawan 26, Murlai Vijay 20; Sam Curran 3/23) trail England 287 (Joe Root 80, Jonny Bairstow 70; R AShwin 4/62) by 211 runs.