Sam Curran backs James Anderson to continue showing his class in second Test


England’s seasoned seam attack will resume the hunt on day two after leaving Pakistan teetering at 126 for five in a curtailed start to the second Test.

The home side, who can seal a series win with victory at the Ageas Bowl, set a strong foundation on Thursday despite just over half the allotted 90 overs being possible.

Rain, bad light and lightning combined to bring an early close after a spell of three wickets for 18 runs in the final session, but a swift end to the innings could give England the head start they need to avoid any further weather interruptions.

Record wicket-taker James Anderson will no doubt be at the front of the queue having rediscovered his mojo with figures of two for 35, taking his career total to 592.

That doubled his haul from the previous Test, after which the 38-year-old felt moved to distance himself from retirement talk and reassert his hunger to keep driving his country on.

All-rounder Sam Curran, who chipped in with the scalp of top-scorer Abid Ali on his return to the XI, said: “Really, I was pretty shocked with all the stuff that was going on about him. He’s obviously a world-class bowler and anyone who doubts him isn’t very sensible.

“He showed his class. I’m sure he’ll go on to get his five-for and then hopefully creep up to 600. I’m just enjoying having him around and learning from him. He was out there helping me through my spells and picking his brains is great for me. It helps having Jimmy out there.”

Curran’s left-arm swing looked in good order despite his limited involvement this summer, spending three of the last four games as a reserve and denied the opportunity to turn out for Surrey in the meantime due to the demands of the bio-secure bubble.

“I think it was a pretty late call,” he said. “But it’s nice to be back in the side.

“It’s a tricky situation when you don’t play I guess. You don’t get to go and perform for your county; you don’t get selected and you’re back to your hotel room. Things like that are very difficult.

“But we’ve got such a great squad at the minute, we’re gelling together really nice and the boys are lifting the guys that are not playing and keeping them involved.”

Meanwhile, the England and Wales Cricket Board is set to confirm details of Australia’s white-ball tour next month. A short trip consisting of three one-day internationals and three Twenty20s, once again split between the Ageas Bowl and Emirates Old Trafford, has been settled between the boards.

By fulfilling that commitment the ECB will have successfully staged all 18 men’s internationals scheduled this season, an outcome that had appeared fanciful during the extended sporting lockdown at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.