Sam Curran shines with bat and ball as England Lions fight back against Australia XI
Sam Curran took six wickets and Dom Sibley scored 74 on debut as the England Lions fought back against the Australian XI in Canterbury.
Resuming on 362/4, the tourists were all out within the first hour on day two, with Curran ripping through the order in an inspired five-over spell.
With the ball only ten overs old, Curran and Lewis Gregory found the swing and movement that was lacking on day one, with Curran snaring Mitchell Marsh in the third over to start his rampage.
Test captain Tim Paine followed in the Surrey all-rounder’s next over, lbw for a five-ball duck. In his fifth over of the day Curran dismissed Michael Neser and Chris Tremain in successive balls and could have had a hat-trick as Jackson Bird slashed at his first ball and squirted it past gully.
The wicket wasn’t long in coming, though. Curran bowled Bird for his fifth wicket in 30 minutes and sixth in the innings and Gregory finished the innings off the next over by bowling Jon Holland.
Travis Head could only add nine to his overnight score as his partners fell around him, finishing on 139 not out.
In reply, Zak Crawley started positively before shouldering arms to a ball from Bird that nicked the top of his off stump, while Ben Foakes and Sam Northeast both fell cheaply.
Sibley added 89 with fellow debutant James Bracey, who looked good for his 37 before falling to a sharp Kurtis Patterson catch at gully.
Sibley himself departed in the 59th over following a patient innings, bringing Curran to the crease with Sam Hain. The pair put on 73 the sixth wicket – Curran scoring fluently to end on 32 not out, while Hain fell on the final ball of the day for 39.
Sam Curran: “After yesterday we spoke about coming at them this morning with the second new ball. Luckily enough we managed to do that pretty quickly.
“Finishing the day six down means we’ve just got to try and bat for as long as we can tomorrow and get as close as we can to their total. Then we’ll be back in the field and will try and take a few more early wickets to put them under pressure.
“We were a bit more disciplined after our team chat last night. It’s a good wicket that’s a bit on the slow side, so you need discipline as your good balls can still be hit for four.
“It was nice to contribute with the bat at the end, but I thought the batters started really nicely. Dom Sibley played beautifully and a few of the others looked really good. Tomorrow is an important morning as they get the ball, so we need to bat as long as we can and put them under pressure.”