Sam Curran chose International Lefthanders Day to strike a crucial blow on his return to the England side as Pakistan struggled against swing in sultry Southampton.
Curran brought variety to an attack lacking the extreme pace of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood and gained movement and bounce to claim the wicket of Abid Ali for 60 as Pakistan finished on 126 for five.
‘Is that a thing?’ asked the left-armer about Lefthanders Day. ‘I just tried to be patient and hold the line nice and tight. We talked about being patient and sticking together as a unit and luckily it came off. It’s great to be back in the side.’
Curran, who has been on the winning team in each of his eight home Tests, was told just before the start he was to replace Archer in an attack more suited to home conditions rather than with an eye on an Ashes future.
The leader of that attack, Jimmy Anderson, quickly hit back from the ‘one bad game’ in Manchester that led to speculation about his Test future by taking the first two wickets. England’s record-breaker is now eight short of 600 Test victims.
‘I was pretty shocked with all the stuff going on with Jimmy before the game because he’s such a world-class bowler and anyone who doubts him is not very sensible,’ added Curran.
‘He proved again today just how world-class he is and I’m just enjoying having him around and trying to learn from him.
‘He helped me through my spells and to pick his brains is great for me. He showed his class and I’m sure he’ll go out and get a five-for tomorrow and creep up towards 600.’