Curran cracks century to put Surrey on top against Northants
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All-rounder Curran in his first Championship appearance for three and a half years smashed 115 in 93 balls – two runs shy of dad Kevin’s best at Wantage Road.
His blitz was juxtaposed by the serene century completed by Hashim Amla as Surrey claimed an 82-run first-innings lead having been bowled out for 421.
Amla raised his bat on his 57th first-class century off the second ball of the day but it was a sideshow to what was brewing at the other end.
Jordan Clark spliced a pull to mid-wicket to end a 49-run stand with Amla to bring Curran to the crease for his first red ball innings since April 2019.
Injuries – a side problem and a stress fracture in his back – England, bubbles and the IPL had seen his personal schedule not be compatible with the County Championship – he has played 84 T20s and 17 List A matches in that time.
Tie into that the Curran family’s connection with Northampton and Northamptonshire, and the narrative pointed towards the carnage.
Curran’s father Kevin played 337 games for the county between 1991 and 1999, while brothers Sam and Ben – who will be released by Northamptonshire at the end of this season – were born in the town.
Curran was brutal in his striking against the old ball – sweetly hitting Rob Keogh straight into the Spencer Pavilion, before repeating the six-hitting into the Lynn Wilson Indoor School off Saif Zaib.
His aggression didn’t relent when the new ball arrived with his fifty coming in 47 balls, before rushing past his previous high of 60 and to three figures for the first time in a further 38 deliveries.
It was a breathless innings offering little chance to a tiring bowling attack and was appropriately celebrated with both arms aloft having slapped the 12th of his 15 fours powerfully back past bowler Keogh.
He had been beaten to a maiden first-class hundred by his younger brother Sam by 80 days.
Wickets did fall in a higgledy-piggledy morning session, with Amla eventually returning for 133 when he was leg before to Keogh – it ended a 144-run stand in which Curran had bashed 103 of them.
Gus Atkinson fell second ball when he stabbed onto his pad only for the ball to roll back into his stumps.
Curran returned from lunch with three fours before he was brilliantly caught at mid-off before Dan Worral was bowled through the gate to give Keogh four for 95 and see Surrey all out for 421, a lead of 82.
Northants didn’t do Surrey’s title rivals Hampshire many favours in the early stages of their second innings.
Will Young was caught at third slip by a juggling Curran, Emilio Gay lived a charmed life with two missed chances in the slips before he was lbw to Clark and Josh Cobb overbalanced when flicking to the leg side to offer up a simple short midwicket catch.
Keogh helped his side back into the lead before a slog sweep top-edged to deep midwicket to see the County in trouble at 114 for four.
Luke Procter passed 50 for the seventh time this season in an unfussy manner to take his Championship tally to 931 runs before he was pinned by Gus Atkinson for 55.
Vasconcelos was timely in his 96-ball fifty.