Playing in only his second Test, Sam Curran rolled through the Indian top order before a masterful Kohli century stole the day.
It was tough going on day two for the batters, with the bowlers once again getting bounce and movement to test the Indians to the limit. Jimmy Anderson bowled like a Trojan and might have returned truly impressive bowling figures but for some dropped catches. His 2-41 (econ 1.86) was exceptional nonetheless.
Ben Stokes also gave the batsmen all kinds of trouble by angling the ball in to them with pace and movement in the air and off the pitch. He picked up two wickets and had a number of promising leg before appeals shaken off by the umpires.
However, England’s shining light was Curran, the baby-faced assassin who smiled impishly during TV interviews after the day’s play, but was all gnarling devil as he stormed up to the crease to deliver the ball with fire and fury. Curran’s left-arm medium-fast seamers were delivered with purpose and great intent and his four wickets will provide the perfect inspiration for any fast bowler to download and watch on repeat the night before a big match. He displayed great control and dominance over the batters on day two and, on this showing, should hold his place in the side for years to come.
Curran’s final figures were impressive for a young man with just a single cap under his belt: 17-1-74-4 (econ 4.35). To be fair, the Indian batters took their share of runs off his bowling by the end of the day but, in the great tradition of attacking Test cricket, the young man took the fight to the batsmen, giving them something to play for… but at a high cost. And, ultimately, the Indian batters paid that price.
The Englishman certainly came out on top and, had it not been for an astonishing 149 by India captain Virat Kohli, Curran would have stood alone as the hero of the day.
Aside from Kohli, the next highest Indian scores were all in the twenties, which should concern the Indian team leaders and offer England all the encouragement they need to bowl the visitors out in the fourth innings.
The controversial selection of Adil Rashid was somewhat justified as the leg break bowler took 2-31, with India being bowled out for 274 off 76 overs.
With England needing to see out a handful of overs, Ravichandran Ashwin shared the new ball with Mohammed Shami. Ashwin immediately got sharp turn and bounce to baffle Keaton Jennings and Alastair Cook, the off-break bowler picking up Cook’s wicket to end the day’s play. It was a tough break for the batsman, who was bowled with a real beauty to end a miserable Test with the bat for England’s most-capped cricketer… not that he’s had much fortune with his hands either during this Test.
Cook will hope to hold on to some catches in the first innings to help England push for victory in what has been an enthralling Test match.
Photos: Gareth Copley/Getty Images