Curran's three-wicket burst leaves India in a spot

Curran's three-wicket burst leaves India in a spot

England's Sam Curran (right) celebrates with team-mates after dismissing India's K L Rahul on the second day of the first Test cricket at Edgbaston on Thursday. AP-PTI

England all-rounder Sam Curran produced a sensational spell of bowling to leave India in a spot of bother at lunch on the second day of the opening Test here on Thursday.

Left-armer Curran sent back Murali Vijay, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan in a stunning 14-ball burst to reduce India to 76/3, leaving skipper Virat Kohli and his deputy Ajinkya Rahane with a herculean challenge of bringing the visitors back in a contest they had dominated until then.

Introduced in the 10th over, Curran did all the damage just after the first drinks break to swing the game England’s way. Generating good pace and swinging the ball both ways just like India’s Mohammed Shami did on the opening day, Curran caught Vijay napping with an in-swinging delivery.

The Tamil Nadu opener, who had batted wonderfully until then, was a trifle late on his shot and was struck plumb in front. Umpire Aleem Dar wasn’t interested in England’s appeal but the hosts reviewed it successfully to land the first blow.

In walked Rahul, included in the squad in place regular one-drop batsman Cheteshwar Pujara following his impressive outings in the preceding limited overs series. His stay lasted only two balls though, the first an outside edge for a boundary and the second an inside edge that re-arranged his stumps.

Curran sucked Rahul into an expansive drive by pitching it up and the youngster fell for the trap as India lost two wickets in three balls. It was poor shot from Rahul considering he had just taken guard and could have easily let the ball go.

Dhawan then joined his colleagues back in the dressing room with a moment of hash. Patient until then by not flashing at anything way outside the off-stump or trying something extravagant, Dhawan lost his concentration and poked at an out-swinger that saw the ball take the edge and into Dawid Malan’s hands at second slip. From 50/1 India had slipped to 59/3.

Kohli and Rahane then tided over the storm, the former seeing off his nemesis James Anderson and the latter looking hardly ruffled. They both know, however, the challenge in front of them is monumental to dig India out of a hole they had dug themselves into.

Brief scores: England (O/n: 285/9): 287 all out in 89.4 overs (Keaton Jennings 42, Joe Root 80, Jonny Bairstow 70; R Ashwin 4-62, Mohammed Shami 3-64) vs India: 76/3 in 21 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 26; Sam Curran 3-23).

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