Coach Trevor Bayliss echoed England captain Joe Root’s glowing praise for 20-year-old all-rounder Curran, although he acknowledged Stokes will be missed when England try to consolidate the 1-0 lead they earned so brilliantly in a thrilling series opener at Edgbaston.
Both man of the match Curran, in only his second Test, and then Stokes – just two days before the court date in Bristol which will rule him out of Lord’s this week – played starring roles in the 31-run win.
After banking that success in England’s 1,000th Test, Bayliss called on those who will be at Lord’s to try to fill the shoes of premier all-rounder Stokes.
England named Curran’s uncapped Surrey team-mate Ollie Pope, also just 20, in place of dropped batsman Dawid Malan in their squad of 13 on Sunday, with Chris Woakes unsurprisingly the choice to replace Stokes.
They will understandably be hoping Curran can deliver again at Lord’s after his five-wicket match haul and maiden half-century.
Bayliss has great confidence already in the youngster, revealing the only issue so far with Curran – as with his brother Tom – is keeping him happy whenever someone else is batting or bowling.
“He wants to be in the fight – just like his brother,” said Bayliss.
“They want the ball – they want to do the batting.
“When they haven’t got the ball or bat in their hands, they’re a little bit (agitated).”
As for the enforced absence of Stokes, Bayliss said: “Obviously it’s something we would have liked to have not been happening.
“It will be interesting to see who can step up and take his place.
“Someone, or two or three guys, will have to step up and do the extra yards … take up the slack.
“That will be a telling factor for the next match.”
He does not expect Stokes’ absence, or the headlines it may create, to distract any of his colleagues.
“I’ve got no concerns about it – Ben has no concerns about it (either),” added Bayliss.
Asked too if India may prove reliant on their captain Virat Kohli throughout the series, the England coach agrees – but points out England too have a nucleus of proven batsmen, alongside others yet to truly establish themselves.
“We’ve got a few guys who are not necessarily cemented in the team – and that puts extra pressure on people like Root, (Jonny) Bairstow and those guys to make the big scores.
“I don’t think it’ll be any different for India.
“The way (Kohli) played (in the first Test) was high-class stuff.
“(But) if we can put pressure on the other batters in the team, that’s going to add to the pressure on him.
“When the ball’s moving, we’ve shown that a few of their guys do struggle against it.
“I’m sure that they’ll be going away working out how they can play it – as we’re going working on how to play the off-spin.”
Malan has paid for his poor form of late, and Bayliss admits the low-scoring nature of the titanic match in Birmingham has put batsmen under the microscope.
“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a concern … losing plenty of wickets in quick succession,” he added.
“(But) the four innings, there were wickets falling left, right and centre.
“All batters were in trouble – even Kohli, who I don’t think was all that comfortable early on.”
Following on from Ben Stokes’ heroics in the first Test against India, we take a look back at the top five bowling spells in Test history by England bowlers at Edgbaston.
Stokes’ effort was superlative – but was it the best?
Two wickets for 15 runs vs Australia, 2005
In one of the greatest Test matches ever played, Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff’s spell at the start of Australia’s second innings changed the match. Defending 281 runs, Flintoff came to the bowling crease in the 13th over and in one of the finest overs in history dismissed Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting, the Australia captain, for a duck. He returned later to outfox Jason Gillespie and Shane Warne but this was the spell that set the hosts up for a nail-biting victory by just two runs.
Five wickets for one run vs Australia, 1981
Australia were on top after grabbing a 69-run first innings lead, and were set a relatively easy target of 151 after dismissing England for a modest 219 in their second dig. As the tourists were coasting towards a comfortable win, Botham unleashed a “spell from hell”: sending five Australian batsmen back to the sheds while conceding just one run, helping England seal a scarcely believable victory by 29 runs.
Three wickets for 15 runs vs India, 2018
India started the fourth day requiring just 84 runs to win with five wickets in hand and captain Virat Kohli at the crease. But the all-rounder changed everything in his first over of the day, removing Kohli and Mohammed Shami to put England on the brink of victory. For good measure he then removed the last man out, Hardik Pandya, when his Indian counterpart threatened a miracle of his own, to give the hosts a famous 31-run victory.
6 wickets for 65 runs vs Pakistan, 2010
The reliable off-spinner recorded his Test best figures in a marathon 37-over spell (20 maidens) in the second innings to set up a comfortable nine-wicket win for the hosts. The pick of his scalps was Imran Farhat, with the ball drifting in before sharply spinning in the opposite direction, deceiving the batsman and England wicket-keeper Matt Prior before knocking off a bail. Many newspapers called it ‘the ball of the 21st century’.
7 wickets for 17 runs vs Australia, 1902
In the first-ever Test match at Edgbaston, England batted and declared at nine down when on 376. In reply Australia were bowled out for just 36. The pick of the bowlers was Rhodes, who bowled 11 overs, including three maidens, and took the wickets of one opener and every batsman from No5 to No11. The left-arm spinner’s effort remains the best bowling performance in a Test innings at Birmingham, even 116 years later – though rain forced a draw.
Morning, Alex Broun here with everything you need to know this Sunday.
It was a test for the ages as England completed a thrilling 31-run victory over India in the test series opener at Edgbaston.
It evoked memories of Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff’s heroics at the same ground in 2005.
To read more on Stokes’ heroics click HERE.
To read more on this stunning Test click HERE.
The £65million Brazil goalkeeper played the full 90 minutes with no mishaps, as James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum, Mohamed Salah, Daniel Sturridge and Alberto Moreno were all on target for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
For more on this match and other pre-season friendlies click HERE.
Indian captain Virat Kohli may have been deeply disappointed by the result of the First Test against England but he may have taken some consolation in the fact he has overtaken Steve Smith to be the No1 test batsmen in the world on the ICC rankings.
FEATURE OF THE DAY
In our fascinating feature read for the day Stuart Appleby looks at how sports science has made age just a number and given longevity to ageing superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo.
During his medical testing in Turin ahead of his official unveiling at Juventus, the Serie A side’s doctors revealed the Portuguese icon had the physical capacity of a 20-year-old.
But how does he and many other modern athletes do it? Read more HERE.
SOCIAL MEDIA ROUND-UP
Ben Stokes' first over of day four:— bet365 (@bet365) August 4, 2018
Takes wicket of Virat Kohli
Takes wicket of Mohammed Shami
🔴 Alisson is a mountain of a man— Liverpool FC News (@LivEchoLFC) August 5, 2018
🔴 Milner is a leader of men
🔴 The front three have clicked straight into gear
🔴 Reds are getting better and better
The #LFC analysis on a memorable evening in Dublin...https://t.co/FI16xTNc27
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Charity Shield: Manchester City v Chelsea (18:00)