Ashes 2019: Sam Curran is a game-changer for England, says Alec Stewart
Sam Curran is a "game-changer", said former England captain Alec Stewart after the all-rounder took three wickets on the second day of the fifth Test against Australia at The Oval.
Curran, playing in his first Test of the series, supported Jofra Archer's 6-62 as England dismissed the tourists for 225.
"When he gets in a rhythm, swinging the ball both ways, he can really impact the game," Stewart told Test Match Special.
"That was the best he has bowled for England. He stuck to his lines and lengths very well, the best he has done for some time."
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Curran, 21, was named man of the series for his performances against India last year, his first summer in international cricket.
His only previous Test this season came against Ireland, before the Ashes, and the Surrey man was recalled on his home ground after fellow all-rounder Ben Stokes was deemed unfit to bowl because of a shoulder injury.
He made a sketchy 15 with the bat on Thursday, but was superb bowling in tandem with Archer on Friday, at one stage taking two wickets in two balls.
"Sam's batting was frenetic yesterday and it showed a bit of nerves and how difficult it is coming in against this Australia pace attack having been out of international cricket for a while," added Stewart, Curran's director of cricket at Surrey.
"With the ball, he wants to take a wicket every ball and we keep telling him you can't do that, you have to set the batsman up.
"That spell he bowled with Jofra Archer was exceptional."
Curran and Archer helped England take a first-innings lead of 69 runs, one that was extended to 78 when they closed the second day on 9-0.
"We need to bat as long and as big as possible because it's a good wicket," said Curran. "We have to try to bat them out of the game."
Curran said his absence from the England side during the Ashes had been "frustrating", but that he was happy to return on his home ground.
"To play here is really special and getting some wickets for the team is the main thing," he said.
"It's really nice to be playing again. I just had to wait my turn and luckily it came."
Stewart scored 8,463 runs in 133 Tests, and Curran joked that if he could emulate those feats, he too may be honoured at The Oval, in similar fashion to the gates that bear the Surrey and England legend's name.
"Stewie is one of my great heroes," said Curran. "I saw him this morning and had some banter about getting some gates named after me.
"It was all good fun. I am nowhere near Stewie's level. Maybe one day."