Sam Curran reflected with some satisfaction about claiming the wicket of New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and believes the manner of the dismissal augurs well for England.
Curran was out for a golden duck and part of the collapse that saw England lose four wickets for 18 runs in 21 balls as they were all out for 353 on the second morning of the first Test in Mount Maunganui.
But he took two top-order wickets as the Black Caps closed on 144 for four, including the prize scalp of Williamson, who was only able to fend off a delivery that viciously reared up at him to Ben Stokes at second slip.
Williamson’s departure in the final hour of the day for 51, which was the first major warning of variable bounce, handed the initiative back to England, and Curran admitted the wicket was probably his most cherished in his fledgling international career.
The 21-year-old said: “Because it’s so recent, it probably is. I’m sure there are other moments but off the top of my head (I can’t think of any).
“Obviously he’s a world-class player so it’s nice to say that I’ve got him out but the main thing is that we’ve got their best player out and now we get into the middle order. We’re pretty pleased with the way the day ended.
“With a few more rollers in the morning, the wicket may start being a bit uneven.
“Fingers crossed that will suit us and there can be a few more and it gets worse as the game goes on because, most likely, we’ll be bowling last and they’ll be the ones batting.
“We obviously want to be batting as soon as we can and get a big, big lead. It’s going to be an exciting game.”
Curran, whose left-arm angle saw him selected ahead of Chris Woakes, has developed a knack of making interventions at crucial periods.
And after failing to add to England’s total, he was eager to make amends.
He added: “Luckily enough when you bat and bowl, you can try to take some wickets for the team.
“There were a few players saying ‘let’s get up for this’ because I was a bit down but I think that’s just natural. I finished the day a lot happier than I was at 12.30pm.
“I just want to contribute with bat and ball, I couldn’t get any runs but I can hopefully contribute with a few wickets in the first innings.
“I’m a very competitive person so I’d like to get in the battle even on a wicket that may not suit me or when I play against bowling that is putting me under pressure.
“If you’re just going to sit back and let them do things against you, I feel I won’t succeed.”
While Curran’s two for 28 was supplemented by one scalp apiece for Jack Leach and Ben Stokes, who was earlier dismissed nine runs short of a century, Jofra Archer is wicketless so far.
Tim Southee, who took four for 88 during England’s innings, said: “(Archer) has shown he’s capable of performing at this level. He’s played a fair bit of cricket for a young guy and I’m sure he’ll turn up hungry.”
While Archer was unable to make inroads into New Zealand’s line-up, he rattled Henry Nicholls’ helmet late in the day although the Black Caps batsman continued to stumps to finish on 26 not out.
Southee said of Nicholls: “He’s a pretty tough character so he’ll rest up, a couple of Panadol (paracetamol) and be back out there.
“He’ll be assessed later on (Friday night) and again in the morning, that’s the protocol. He’s shaping up all right at the moment so fingers crossed he’ll be right.”