BIRMINGHAM: It was billed to be a contest between England’s most prolific wicket-taker James Anderson and India’s top batsman Virat Kohli.
But in the end, an unlikely 20-year-old playing in only his second test match stole the limelight from his more established peers and dragged his team to victory over the world’s top-ranked test nation in the first match of a five-game series.
Sam Curran grabbed four top Indian wickets in the first innings and gave his team a precious 13-run lead despite a century by Indian skipper Kohli.
Then in the second innings, with England on the ropes at 87 for 7, he strung together two valuable partnerships that saw England put up an overall target of 194 runs for the hosts to win.
Playing with confidence, the left arm swing bowler who plays for county Surrey, first combined with Adil Rashid for 48 runs, which was the biggest of the English innings, and then 41 with fast bowler Stuart Broad for the ninth wicket.
Following England’s victory, Curran was given the man of the match award.
“I can’t take it all at the moment,” Curran, told a post-match news conference. “It feels like I’m dreaming. I’m sure I’ll sleep well tonight because I didn’t get any last night.”
Curran made his test and one-day international debut for England earlier this year and his swing bowling, especially against the Indian top order, impressed his peers.
“Sam Curran has a great amount of skill, very exciting and promising cricketer,” skipper Joe Root said.