‘I don’t think anyone who doubts him is very sensible – he is so world class’
Sam Curran said that he was “shocked” by the criticism that James Anderson received in the build-up to the second Test at the Ageas Bowl.
Anderson took two wickets to help England dominate a truncated first day as Pakistan, who had won the toss, closed on 126 for five. “I was pretty shocked with all the kind of stuff that was going on about him,” said Curran, who was selected for his second Test of the summer, with Jofra Archer rested.
“He’s obviously such a worldclass bowler and I don’t think anyone who doubts him is very sensible – because he proved again how world-class he is.”
Anderson’s wickets took him to 592 in Test cricket, leaving him just eight away from becoming the first quick bowler, and just the fourth man ever, to 600.
Curran, who dismissed Abid Ali for 60 in an impressive return to the side, also credited Anderson with helping him develop his swing bowling. “I think it helped having Jimmy out there today, there’s a few spells where you just keep chatting to each other – just keep it patient, very humid conditions. The ball probably started swinging a bit more as the day went on.
“I’m just enjoying having him around and trying to learn from him as well. He was out there today, helping me through my spells, and just picking his brains is great for me. He showed his class and I’m sure he’ll probably go on to get a five-fer and hopefully creep up to 600.”
Curran said that England were happy with their day as they overcame an indifferent start and a series of interruptions for rain and bad light to claim five wickets.
“I thought we bowled really well as a group – everyone chipped in there,” he said. “It was a good day in general.”
Curran admitted that it had been a challenge being involved in the biosecure bubble as a squad player, rather than being released to play county cricket. “It’s a tricky situation when you don’t play,” he said.
“You don’t get to go out and perform for your county. You don’t get selected and you are back to your hotel room. Things like that are very different, but we’ve got such a
great squad at the minute, we link together nicely and the boys are lifting the guys that are not playing and keeping them involved.”
Pakistan opener Abid said that Anderson remained a huge threat. “Anderson is one of the best in the world – a top-class bowler,” he said. “I took it as a challenge to play him.”
With an uncertain forecast for the days ahead, England will target a substantial first-innings lead to set up the possibility of winning even if overs are lost in the game. “Hopefully we can push on and get ahead in the game,” Curran said.
Humidity, and the expectation of swing, meant that England preferred Curran to Mark Wood.
Mopping up: Groundstaff sweep water off the covers during a rain break at the Ageas Bowl