Curran, Stokes strike before England as India struggle

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Ben Stokes (Getty Images)
Ben Stokes (Getty Images)

Birmingham - England's Sam Curran and Ben Stokes shared six wickets to leave India struggling on the second day of the first Test at Edgbaston on Thursday.

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At tea, India were 160 for six in reply to England's first innings 287, a deficit of 127 runs.

The 20-year-old Curran, in only his second Test, had superb figures of four for 38 in 10 overs.

But England could yet regret dropping India captain and star batsman Virat Kohli on 21 and 51.

Come the interval, Kohli was 53 not out, with Ravichandran Ashwin unbeaten on six.

After India took the one wicket they needed to wrap up England's first innings, it seemed as if Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan had come through a tough spell against the new ball with a fifty partnership for the first wicket.

But having survived some testing deliveries from veteran pace duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad, they succumbed to Surrey left-arm swing bowler Curran.

Curran, on as first change, took three wickets for eight runs in eight balls to reduce India to 59 for three.

His wicket-taking burst began when Vijay was lbw on review for 20 after missing an inswinger.

Two balls later Curran dismissed KL Rahul for four via the batsman's ugly flat-bat drag-on.

Left-hander Dhawan, fortunate to see an edged drive off Curran fly past third slip Keaton Jennings, had no such luck when, on 26, he nicked a well-directed Curran outswinger to Dawid Malan at second slip.

India, 76 for three at lunch, lost their next two wickets on 100.

All-rounder Stokes appeared to surprise Ajinkya Rahane (15) with a sharply lifting delivery that the batsman steered to Jennings, still at third slip.

Stokes then clean bowled wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik for a duck as the batsman was beaten for both swing and pace.

India have long been criticised for their poor close catching but England's slip cordon is not the most reliable either and, with the tourists still on 100, two chances went begging.

Kohli nicked Anderson only for Malan to drop a low catch at second slip.

That was the last delivery of the over and the next ball saw all-rounder Hardik Pandya missed on nought when Alastair Cook dropped a routine chance at first slip off Stokes.

But Curran returned to have Pandya lbw for 22 with an inswinging yorker.

Soon after completing a 100-ball fifty with his ninth four, Kohli was missed again by Malan, this time off Stokes.

England, who won the toss, would have been disappointed at being dismissed for under 300 as they marked their 1,000th Test with an all-too familiar batting collapse.

They had been well-placed at 216 for three on Wednesday thanks to a partnership of 104 between captain Joe Root (80) and Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow (70).

But the run out of Root by Kohli, who gave his England counterpart a colourful send-off, sparked a slump that saw six wickets lost for just 67 runs.

Off-spinner Ashwin, belying his reputation as a poor performer outside the sub-continent, took four for 62 in 26 overs.

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