Sri Lanka vs England: Sam Curran and Jos Buttler lift tourists out of trouble on opening day of second Test

14 Nov

Sam Curran and Jos Buttler dug England out of a hole as the tourists posted 285 all out on day one of the second Test against Sri Lanka.

England had slumped to 89 for four before Buttler struck an inventive 63 off just 67 balls and Curran thrashed an innings-saving 64 from number eight.

Sam Curran hit an inspired 64

The 20-year-old hit the accelerator with six sixes as he shepherded last man James Anderson to the highest stand of the day, 60, topping up what had been an underpowered total and sapping the home side of their growing enthusiasm.

Jack Leach then bagged a wicket before close-of-play, rocking back Kaushal Silva’s off stump to leave Sri Lanka 26 for one.

England decided to bat first with a reshuffled order in Pallekele, promoting Ben Stokes to number three, bumping Buttler up to five and shunting Moeen Ali back to six but all had come and gone, with varying success, when Curran came in to bat.

There was an element of fortune in England’s final position, Niroshan Dickwella badly botching a stumping that would have sent Curran back for one and further escapes on seven and 53.

Sam Curran hit six sixes in quick succession

But the Surrey all-rounder, who helped steady England on day one in the Galle Test with a gutsy 48, seized his moment with style on a testing, turning Pallekele pitch that should only get harder to score on.

Buttler also deserves tremendous credit, quickly reading the pace of the pitch and focussing almost exclusively on a diet of orthodox and reverse sweeps.

Though he brought up his half-century with an authoritative pull off Suranga Lakmal his selection of sweeps accounted for 51 of his runs in his new position.

Stokes’ elevation was less of an immediate success despite a couple of pleasing strikes. Having survived a marginal lbw review defending Dilruwan Perera on the back foot he proceeded to fall in similar fashion with 19 to his name. Perera was comfortably the pick of the bowlers, taking four for 61 with his precise, nagging off-breaks.

Jos Buttler elected to sweep almost everything

Rory Burns had earlier started solidly at opener, making a controlled 43 before Akila Dananjaya snared his edge with a beauty.

Not all of Burns’ colleagues were as blameless. Keaton Jennings, fresh from a redemptive first Test century, was first to fall with a familiar nibble outside off stump, Joe Root was late, loose and bowled through the gate by Malinda Pushpakumara, while Moeen made a tame lbw victim.

Most baffling was England’s Galle hero Ben Foakes, who was given out caught at slip despite no evidence of an edge and made no attempt to refer the decision.

Having lived by the sweep Buttler eventually died by it, another trusty reverse against Pushpakumara finally lobbing to short third man.

Jack Leach grabbed an important wicket before the close of play

At 171 for seven England might have been tentatively targeting 200. That they left that modest tally well in the distance was down to Curran.

He began gingerly, collapsing out of his ground with just a single to his name only to scramble back when Dickwella made a hash of his glovework. By the time Adil Rashid (31) and Leach had come and gone he still had just 16 from 65 deliveries and a number 11 for company.

After Anderson reversed an incorrect lbw decision off his first ball, Curran threw caution to the wind.

There were sixes down the ground, another elaborately sliced over backward point with a big swing of the arms and another deposited flat over square. The latter took him past 50, the third time he has passed that landmark with a maximum in Tests.

A shocking drop at long on by Pushpakumara extended his stay a few extra balls before he finally holed out down the ground.

You can listen to exclusive radio commentary of the second Test, live on talkSPORT.

Sam Curran receives first Test central contract as England and Wales Cricket Board announce 2018/19 deals

28 Sep

Surrey’s Sam Curran has been awarded his first ever Test contract as the England and Wales Cricket Board confirms the central contracts for 2018/19.

Only 10 players with Test-match experienced make the ECB list for the coming year, when England will play the World Cup at home and also an Ashes series.

Sam Curran has been rewarded for his breakthrough year

Incredibly, no opening batsmen have been given Test contracts, despite there Alastair Cook’s decision to retire from international cricket after the Test series against India leaving a big vacancy at the top of the order.

Cook’s latest opening partner Keaton Jennings, the Lancashire batsman, misses out on a deal, while Rory Burns had pressed his case when scoring more than 1,000 runs in the County Championship to help Surrey win a first title in 16 years.

Ben Stokes is included, the Durham player still awaiting the outcome of a disciplinary commission to conclude its findings into a charge of bringing the game into disrepute.

Yorkshire’s Adil Rashid has also been given a central Test match contract, despite not playing red-ball cricket at the start of the year. Rashid signed an all-format contract with his county last week.

The 13 white-ball one-day international and T20 selections reflect a largely settled England line-up heading into the World Cup.

Selectors have also awarded Surrey all-rounder Tom Curran an increment contract for the next 12 months, commencing October 1 2018.

Stokes has been awarded a contract despite a disciplinary commission still yet to conclude its findings into a charge of bringing the game into disrepute

Full list of ECB central contracts for 2018-19:

Test: Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Sam Curran (Surrey), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)

ODI/T20: Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Liam Plunkett (Surrey), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Jason Roy (Surrey), Ben Stokes (Durham), David Willey (Yorkshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham)

Incremental: Tom Curran (Surrey)

Ben Stokes replaces Sam Curran in England team for third test against India, captain Joe Root confirms

17 Aug

Ben Stokes has been named in the England team to play India in the third Test at Trent Bridge, captain Joe Root said.

Stokes was recalled to the squad just hours after being cleared of affray earlier this week and replaces Sam Curran in the team.

Stokes will return to action immediately at Trent Bridge

Root said it was “probably one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make as captain” after Curran’s impressive performances in the victories at Edgbaston and Lord’s.

Stokes was cleared of affray on Tuesday after a week-long case at Bristol Crown Court, relating to a late-night fight in the city following last September’s one-day international against the West Indies.

Curran was named Man of the Match in the first test victory over India

England head coach Trevor Bayliss has called on the all-rounder to make a public apology over the events which led to his trial, having apologised to his team-mates in New Zealand last winter when he rejoined them after having to miss the Ashes while a criminal charge was being considered.

Curran would be entitled to feel hard done by after a four-wicket haul and a combative half-century in what was only the 20-year-old’s second Test swung the series opener in England’s favour at Edgbaston and saw him named man of the match.

England cricket news: Tom Curran ruled out of white-ball summer as brother Sam steps in for ODI against India

3 Jul

Tom Curran will miss England’s white-ball summer because of a side strain, and his brother Sam will replace him in the one-day international series against India.

Brothers Tom (left) and Sam (right) Curran

Curran suffered the injury while part of England’s ODI squad against Australia last month, but was retained to take on India for the Vitality IT20 series which gets under way at Old Trafford on Tuesday and three 50-over matches to follow.

It was hoped he may recover full fitness in time to be considered for selection by the end of this week.

Instead, Curran – who last played for England against New Zealand in Christchurch four months ago – must wait to add to his 14 limited-overs caps.

His 20-year-old younger brother and fellow Surrey bowling all-rounder Sam is already in England’s Twenty20 squad, having made both his Test and ODI debuts last month.

A brief England and Wales Cricket Board statement confirmed the elder Curran’s misfortune on Tuesday lunchtime.

It read: “Surrey all-rounder Tom Curran has been ruled out of England’s Vitality IT20s and ODIs against India with a left side strain.

“He is replaced in the ODI squad by his brother Sam.

“Tom will now commence his rehabilitation programme at the Kia Oval under the supervision of Surrey and England’s medical teams.”

England have not announced a replacement for Curran in the squad for the three-match Twenty20 series which concludes in Bristol on Sunday, having already added batsmen Dawid Malan to their 14 last weekend.

Sam Curran drafted into England’s Test squad against Pakistan in place of injured Ben Stokes

30 May
Sam Curran drafted into England's Test squad against Pakistan in place of injured Ben Stokes
The left-arm seamer has never been capped by England

Surrey left-arm seamer Sam Curran has been drafted into England’s Test squad as cover for Ben Stokes, who is suffering with a tight left hamstring.

The uncapped Curran, 19, was due to travel to Leeds on Wednesday evening and train at Headingley on Thursday ahead of the second Test against Pakistan, which begins on Friday.

It is understood that Stokes has not yet undergone a scan on the injury, which will be assessed by the England medical staff on Thursday.

Earlier this month Curran took 10 wickets in a match for the first time as Surrey wrapped up a County Championship Division One victory over Yorkshire by an innings and 17 runs at The Oval.

He took six wickets in the first innings and four for 47 in the second to finish with match figures of 10 for 101.

Pakistan won the first Test of the series by nine wickets at Lord’s as England suffered a sixth defeat in their last eight Tests.