Curran (four for 74) took three wickets in eight balls at one stage, but Kohli’s crucially was not among them as the India captain instead hit 149 to drag India right back into contention in the first Test at Edgbaston.
The tourists recovered from 100 for five, and then 182 for eight, to reach 274 all out and therefore concede a lead of only 13 runs to England, who then stumbled to nine for one after losing Alastair Cook to the last ball of day two.
England’s 20-year-old seamer understandably had mixed feelings in just his second Test.
“Credit to a great innings there,” he said.
“That’s what Test cricket is about, you play against the best players.
“I’m only in my second game, but I think it was a little eye-opener for me, watching the way he bats and how precise you’ve got to be with your lengths (to him).”
As for his own performance, Curran said: “Personally, it was a pretty special day for me with the ball.
“Coming on and taking a few early wickets, I can’t really remember it, it was so unreal.
“Obviously, it’s massive for me.
“In my first Test a couple of months ago against Pakistan, I was probably a little bit nervous.
“To get some wickets here, I felt like I was running in at The Oval for Surrey – I forgot about what I’m actually doing, and just stuck to what I’m good at.”
England were powerless to stop Kohli, although he was twice dropped in the slips – on 21 and 51.
“We had them 100 for five, and felt in the game, then Virat played really well with their tail and frustrated us a little bit,” said Curran.
“But he did nick a lot of balls outside off-stump that didn’t carry as well.
“No one means to drop catches, and on another day they would be taken.
“But you can’t dwell on those things too much, especially in a game like this, because there’s going to be another chance coming at you straightaway.”
Curran is delighted to find himself in the thick of such a gripping match.
“Everyone (here today) got what they paid for, it’s going to be a great Test,” he said.
“We’ve just got to bat big tomorrow, get as many runs as possible day three and day four, and put pressure on India, especially with the wicket starting to go up and down a little bit, and a bit of spin.”
Kohli had let the bat do his talking as he set the record straight so emphatically after averaging only 13.4 and mustering a tour aggregate of 134 runs on his only previous Test tour of England four years ago.
He did not feel the need to add to that statement by attending a post-match press conference, leaving India’s batting coach Sanjay Bangar to illustrate his achievement instead.
“His innings has narrowed the gap massively between the two teams,” said Bangar.
“At one stage we were staring down the barrel, and the gap was huge, but because of his brilliance and the commitment shown by the batsmen around him, it’s still even.
“Virat had to play through various phases where run making wasn’t that easy.
“But he showed terrific discipline. The way he batted with the tail was a lesson in itself.”
Off-spinner Ravi Ashwin bowled opener Alastair Cook in the first hour before England fought their way to 83-1 after 28 overs at lunch. India hit back with a second wicket early into the second session with pacer Mohammed Shami getting the better of Keaton Jennings who departed for 42. The India pacer then had Dawid Malan trapped lbw soon after to reduce England to 112-3. Joe Root has since gone on to register another Test half-century as the hosts went into tea at 163-3.
Jonny Bairstow then notched up his half-century in just 72 balls as England went past the 200-run mark. The England skipper missed out on a Test century once again after he was run-out by Virat Kohli for 80 runs. Bairstow joined his skipper back in the pavilion almost immediately after he dragged an Umesh Yadav delivery on to his stumps. The hosts’ woes were further heightened in the next over with Ashwin dismissing Jos Buttler for a duck to reduce England to 224-6. Stokes fell to the off-spinner soon after before Ishant Sharma removed Adil Rashid with the second new-ball.
The hosts were batting on 285-9 when stumps were drawn at Birmingham.
Joe Root chose to bat first after winning the toss in England‘s 1,000th Test match against India at Edgbaston. The hosts were as announced on the eve of this landmark occasion, the first of five Tests over the next six weeks, with Adil Rashid confirmed as their only spinner.
India left out Cheteshwar Pujara, replacing him with KL Rahul after his run of poor form with the bat, and they too picked just one spinner – Ravi Ashwin unsurprisingly getting the nod.
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Root confirmed on the eve of the landmark occasion that his fellow Yorkshireman, subject of an open-season reaction since his controversial selection in a 13-man squad last week, will be the hosts’ sole spinner at Edgbaston on Wednesday (14:00 UAE).
The England captain spelled out too that, contrary to some rumblings, he needed no persuading about Rashid’s recall – at a time when the leg-spinner has no first-class contract with Yorkshire or any apparently imminent plans to return to county championship action this summer.
He senses Rashid’s significant white-ball improvement for club and country indicates that at the age of 30 he has matured to the point that he should be ready to do himself and England full justice at Test level.
England will certainly need him to be more of a threat than his career figures to date suggest – after 38 wickets at an average of 42.78 from 10 overseas caps, including most recently five in India up to December 2016.
Root has known Rashid throughout his own professional career, having followed him up through the ranks at Yorkshire, and said: “He’s very talented – he always has been.
“I think over the last couple of years … he has grown as a player massively.
“He’s got high skill levels, which I think are very transferable into Test cricket.
“I’ve known Adil for a long time, seen his success over the last year in white-ball cricket and feel I have an opportunity to get the best out of him in this format now.”
Rashid’s chance comes at the expense of fellow spinner Moeen Ali, who alongside uncapped seamer Jamie Porter has not graduated from squad to team.
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Root added: “(Adil) is bowling with a huge amount of confidence at the minute … (and) has matured a hell of a lot since he last played Test cricket.
“Obviously I was in favour of the selection, and I think it gives us a really great attacking spinning option.”
He believes the furore in some quarters over Rashid’s selection – despite his current white-ball only status, and including in part from Yorkshire – has been misplaced.
“In terms of the criticism, people are entitled to their opinions and can voice what they want.
“I probably think it’s slightly unfair – but (that’s) my opinion.”