Unlikely hero: The impact of Sam Curran
England unearth a saviour and a rare gem in the diminutive all-rounder
Virat Kohli may be the best batsman in this series, but in Sam Curran, England have found an unlikely newcomer to test cricket who has had as big an impact with the bat as the Indian captain during this series.
With a faltering top order that hasn’t got going all summer, England have found themselves in trouble with bat in hands in all four tests. It’s been their lower order of Woakes and in particularly Curran, who have stepped up and saved helped them throughout the series. Curran has been outstanding.
With Ishant Sharma bowling beautifully in the first test at Birmingham, reducing England to 7-87 in the second innings (a lead of exactly 100), it was Sam Curran and Adil Rashid who got them out of trouble with an important 48 run stand. Curran’s 63 was a match winning knock. It allowed England to post a defendable score. Simply without his runs, which was more than double the next best batsman (Bairstow made 28), it would have been difficult to see anything but an Indian win.
At Lords in the second test only Bairstow passed 30 out of their top 6. Woakes with a century and Curran (40) piled on the runs as England ran out big winners.
Despite making runs and taking 7 wickets in the first two tests, Curran made way for the returning Ben Stokes in the third test. As far as droppings go, this one would be on the harsher side.
When nobody in Englands top 6 got passed 30 in the first innings of the third test, Curran was back at his county, unable to save his country this time round. England collapsed to be out for 161 in their first innings. Ben Stokes and Jos Butler showed some excellent fight in the second innings at Trent Bridge, but in a chase of 521 for victory, the test was over before they got together.
After an excellent win in the third test India got off to a great start in this 4th test. In a similar occurrence to what happened in the 2nd innings at Birmingham, England were reduced to 6-86, once again nobody in their top order posting a score over 30. Sam Curran stood up though, his 78 was not quite double the next best score (Moeen Ali made 40), but it wasn’t far off. And from a position of danger they were able to post a competitive score that gave their bowlers a chance in this test.
Sam Curran is currently on 37 not out in this second innings where England are trying to get a lead of over 250, where they will have a chance to win the series today. Curran has the very impressive return of 242 runs at 60.50 and is the only batsman to have passed 20 every time he has walked out to bat. He is the third highest run scorer to date in this series. A wonderful return from someone batting at number 8.
As unlikely as it was at the start of the summer, Sam Curran is proving to be the difference between a winning and losing series for the hosts this summer.