Cricket Expert & Columnist
Nasser Hussain says 'phenomenal' Sam Curran won England the first Test against India
"I always used to say 'pick someone on their character more than what they are showing in county cricket'. Curran has character in abundance."
Last Updated: 05/08/18 7:12am
Nasser Hussain hailed the "phenomenal achievement" of Sam Curran after the Surrey all-rounder inspired England to victory in the first Test.
Man of the match Curran, playing just his second Test, bagged four wickets in India's first innings at Edgbaston as the tourists were dismissed for 274 to trail by 13 runs despite Virat Kohli's stunning 149.
The 20-year-old then rescued England from 87-7 in their second innings as they scored 180 and set India 194 for victory - Kohli's side subsequently bowled out for 162 on the fourth morning.
"He has won England this game. India might say Kohli got 200 runs but who turned this game around? A 20-year-old. It's a phenomenal achievement," said the Sky Cricket expert.
"He changed the course of two innings. He came on with India 50-0 and pitched it up, swung it and got four for nothing and he then went in with England 87-7.
"After his first game you thought he was maybe a bits-and-pieces cricketer and wondered whether he was quick enough, could move it enough and if he was a proper batsman.
"I always used to say 'pick someone on their character more than what they are showing in county cricket'. He has character in abundance."
Ben Stokes was England's star on the final day, taking the prize scalp of Kohli (51) lbw but Hussain feels Joe Root's "team collective" was a key reason for their 31-run win.
"It just felt like a group of England cricketers taking on one or two Indian players," he said.
"It was more of a team collective from England to beat India who relied heavily on one or two, the great one being Kohli.
"There was no drop off in this game from James Anderson and Stuart Broad to Stokes and Curran. Stokes has always been a man for an occasion and the occasion here was to get Kohli out.
"Kohli was phenomenal in this game. He deserved to be on the winning side for the way he played with the tail. He singlehandedly brought India back into the Test match.
"I do think he should take some of the responsibility for the loss, though. England were 87-7 with Curran and Adil Rashid at the crease and for some reason Ravichandran Ashwin went out of the game for an hour.
"India lost control then - he needs to look back on his captaincy and say 'when I've got a bloke who averages 19 against left-handers and a 20-year-old left-hander on strike, why did I take him off?'"
Reflecting on a real ebb-and-flow Test, Hussain added: "It's been magnificent.
"The pitch has a lot to do with that - it wasn't a flat belter - and so have the players. The standard of bowling and captaincy [has been great]. I think Joe Root has been outstanding in this game.
"A lot of times nowadays we see one side get ahead in Test matches and series and then the other doesn't seem capable of fighting back. This match has switched one way and then the other.
"The template for Test cricket has been set and I don't see why the ICC can't just use the Dukes ball around the world [an idea suggested by Mike Atherton]. It produces exciting cricket, so why don't the ICC go down that road?"
Watch the second Test between England and India, from Lord's, live on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event from 10am on Thursday.