Daily Digest: A thrilling Test at Edgbaston builds to a nail-biting climax

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Morning, Tyrone Bell here with everything you need to know this Saturday.

TOP STORY

Sam Curran has been brilliant with ball and bat.

Sam Curran has been brilliant with ball and bat.

The word thrilling is over-used in modern sport but the First Test between England and India at Edgbaston has certainly earned that adjective.

It has been thrilling from the opening ball right to the end of play on the third day.

The hosts led by just 13 runs on the first innings as India were saved by a superb 149 by Virat Kohli and some poor England catching.

England then stumbled to 180 in their second dig, with young all-rounder Sam Curran carrying out a rescue mission of his own with a breath-taking 63 off just 65 balls.

This left India with a target of 194 and overnight they were poised at 110 for five wickets with the danger man Kohli still there on 43.

The match is poised for a thrilling climax today.

To read more on yesterday’s brilliant day of cricket click HERE.

FOOTBALL

Vidal spent three seasons with Bayern Munich.

Vidal spent three seasons with Bayern Munich.

The transfer window grinds on with deals being done all over the globe.

The latest moves include Gonzalo Higuain from Juventus to AC Milan, Lucas Digne from Barcelona to Everton and most intriguingly Arturo Vidal to Barcelona from Bayern.

Also a move for Yerry Mina makes sense for Manchester United says Matt Monaghan.

In other news Cristiano Ronaldo had caused quite a stir unfollowing former club Real Madrid on Instagram.

CRICKET

Nepal captain Paras Khadka. Image: ICC/Twitter.

Nepal captain Paras Khadka. Image: ICC/Twitter.

Elsewhere in the cricket universe leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane picked up three wickets as Nepal beat Netherlands by one run to register their first ever win in the format on Friday.

Chasing 217 for victory, the Dutch were well placed at 114-2 before they lost seven wickets for 71 runs. Leg-spinner Lamichhane took 3-41 from his 10-overs to play his part in a famous win.

To read more on the historic victory click HERE.

FEATURE OF THE DAY

Sam Whitelock of the Crusaders and Warren Whiteley of the Lions - the winning captain is on the left

Sam Whitelock of the Crusaders and Warren Whiteley of the Lions – the winning captain is on the left

The Crusaders stand on the brink of their ninth Super Rugby title when they take on the Lions from Johannesburg in the final in Christchurch today (11:35 UAE time).

Alex Broun looks at what makes this champion team so great.

SOCIAL MEDIA ROUND-UP

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Test cricket:

England v India – Day Four of First Test (14:00)

Rugby:

Super Rugby Final: Crusaders v Lions  (11:35)

Football:

Pre-season friendly: Liverpool vs Napoli in Dublin (18:00)

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England seamer Sam Curran has defied expectations and it's his temperament that stands out

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Sam Curran has been brilliant with ball and bat.

First of all, I need to own up to an error in judgment. When England left-arm seamer Sam Curran made his Test debut against Pakistan at Leeds in June, I did not believe he was ready for Test cricket.

With his slight build and spirited-at-best bowling action, Sam did not turn heads during the game against Pakistan. There was no great pace, extravagant movement or bounce to suggest the 20-year-old could be a force to be reckoned with in Test cricket. Fast bowlers need to have a certain physique and pace to consistently challenge the best batsmen on all conditions in Test cricket. I had believed, at that time, that his brother Tom could have been a better option because he offered more pace and bounce.

When India prepared for the first Test in Birmingham, surviving the new ball against James Anderson and Stuart Broad was their main concern followed by the incisive bowling of all-rounder Ben Stokes. The medium to fast-medium left-arm bowling of Curran would not have been on top of the minds of India batsmen.

In the first innings of England’s batting, Curran’s 71-ball 24 helped England post 287 in the first essay and he then returned to not only break a dangerous looking opening stand of 50 but also ran through the Indian top order. His late left-arm swing proved more than a handful as Indian batsmen struggled to pick his line or length.

Then came his most defiant effort of the Test. With England down and almost out at 87-7 in the second innings and all main batsmen dismissed, Curran brought the hosts back into the match. And the icing on top of an amazing cake for Curran was the wicket of Ajinkya Rahane in the second innings.

Runs and wickets are always good but it’s the way Curran went about accumulating them in Birmingham that has stood out. With the bat and ball, he knew exactly what needs to be done. His run-scoring was a result of uncluttered thinking. With the ball, he knew where to bowl at batsmen and rarely veered from his line of attack.

“I remember me as a 20-year-old, and I didn’t know what was going on … I was in awe of everyone,” James Anderson said of Curran on Friday.

“But he knows exactly what he’s doing, how to set batsmen up, and we saw he has talent with the bat as well.”

There was concern, in some quarters, that Curran’s build might not be able to stand up to the demands of Test seam bowling over a longer period of time. But his batting has developed very well and he already has 11 first-class fifties along with 119 wickets from 42 games. A future as a batting all-rounder is a distinct possibility.

That Sam is a gritty character shouldn’t come as a surprise as the Zimbabwe born lad has seen quite a lot at an early age after his family was evicted from their farm in the African nation during the regime of Robert Mugabe. To come through such a situation at make it to the Test team while being a teenager shows that Sam is made of some pretty stern stuff and can handle most things that cricket can throw at him.

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Live Cricket Blog: Sam Curran and Ishant Sharma star on an action-packed day in Birmingham

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Hello, Denzil Pinto and the Sport360 team are in place to provide you with the latest news, comment and analysis on all things cricket.

Our daily blog will ensure you have all the latest updates throughout your day and week but we want you to get involved, too.

Tell us your thoughts on what’s happening by tweeting @Sport360.

10:30 pm – Talking points from third day’s play in Birmingham

England v India: Specsavers 1st Test - Day Three

Stuart Broad picked up two wickets as India reached stumps on 110-5 chasing 194 in the Birmingham Test.

The match was finely poised after Ishant Sharma picked up five wickets but not before Sam Curran had pulled his team out of serious trouble witha fine 63 that took the total to 180.

Read all talking points from the first Test here.

10:00 pm – Analysis of Ishant Sharma’s performance

India pacer Ishant Sharma was on fire on the third day of the Birmingham Test.

He picked up three wickets in one over either side of lunch to reduce England to 87-7. He finished with a deserved five wicket haul.

Here is an in-depth analysis of his performance.

7:45 pm – England pick two early wickets

England seamer Stuart Broad picked up two early wickets as India chased 194 to win the Birmingham Test.

Earlier Ishant Sharma picked up five wickets while seamer Sam Curran hit a defiant 63 as the hosts battled their way to 180 in the second innings.

Catch all the live updates here.

5:45pm – Monty Panesar pleas to English counties of offering him a trial

The former England spinner Monty Panesar is hoping that one county will offer him a trial in a bid to revive his career. Click here for more on that story.

Monty Panesar is bidding to revive his stalled career.

Monty Panesar is bidding to revive his stalled career.

3:30pm – Sri Lanka shelve plans of hosting IPL-style T20 tournament

The Sri Lankan Cricket Board have confirmed they will no longer be hosting a T20 tournament similar to the IPL. Instead of foreign stars, the competition will only feature Sri Lankan internationals and domestic cricketers. Read more on that story here.

3:05pm – Virat Kohli let the bat do the talking in what could be his best ever Test innings

Virat Kohli grabbed all the headlines as he scored 149 on Thursday as India fought back against England. A lot was said on how the Indian would fare in the series after a poor 2014 tour. But he showed his class in style. Ashish Peter examined what it meant for Kohli to score his first Test hundred in England. Read his thoughts here.

Kohli might just have played his most important Test innings.

Kohli might just have played his most important Test innings.

2:20pm – The moment that England might be rueing after Virat Kohli scored his century 

Virat Kohli stole the show on Thursday as he scored his maiden Test century on English soil. While it was a masterclass of an innings, the Indian captain was fortunate to reach 149 after being dropped on 21 and 51. Alex Broun looks back on the second day and how those two dropped catches could be pivotal for the rest of the Test match. Read his thoughts here.

1:15pm – ‘India’s slip-catching must improve’

That is the view of former skipper  Mohammad Azharuddin, who insists that Virat Kohli’s side must place more emphasis at the slips after missed chances on the opening day of their Test match against England. Read more on what he said here.

12:30pm – Afghanistan captain changes his name

Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai has changed his name to Asghar Afghan in ‘honour of protecting the national identity of Afghan citizens’. The Afghanistan Cricket Board confirmed the news on their Twitter account on Thursday. Read more on that story here.

Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai has changed his name

Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai has changed his name

11:10am – Wahab Riaz’s T20 half-century goes in vain

The Pakistan pacer impressed with the bat, scoring a half-century but his effort went in vain as Derbyshire lost to Nottinghamshire in the England T20 Blast clash on Thursday. Riaz slammed a 31-ball 53 at number three but it was not enough as his team lost by nine runs. Read more on that story here.

Wahab Riaz slammed a 31-ball 53 in the T20 Blast.

Wahab Riaz slammed a 31-ball 53 in the T20 Blast.

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