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Not all moments in a day's play are equal. A wicket, for instance, might just add one to the wicket's column regardless of who is out, but depending on the batsman, the context, the match, some are evidently more significant than others. A quickfire and unexpected thirty from a lower order player can sometimes change the mood around a game more than a solid thirty by a top order batsman who is expected to score runs. The reasons why may sometimes be intangible, but not all moments in a day's play are equal.
Which is why those who can seize the moment, those who can make the impacts that feel more significant, and actually turn out to be more significant, the moments that end up changing the course of a game, are so valuable. They are the cricketers that make things happen when something needs to happen.
England are lucky they have Ben Stokes, a cricketer who lives and breathes for those sort of moments. We saw it at Headingley during the summer with bat and ball. We saw it in Sri Lanka last winter. We saw it on day one at Bay Oval with his unbeaten half-century which transferred pressure back onto New Zealand at a time where they could have pressed home an advantage. And we saw it on the second day with the ball, as Stokes picked up the key wicket of Ross Taylor.
Admittedly, it was a bit of a gimme from Taylor, caught at deep square leg from a poorly executed pull shot, but Stokes tends to be the beneficiary of such mistakes. He induces them more than other bowlers. He gets batsmen to play shots they don't want to. He goes hell for leather with each delivery which means he can be wayward. So rather than sit in against Stokes, as they might against James Anderson say, batsmen have the opportunity to attack. And that often provides chances.
Stokes is not the only cricketer England have who seems to deliver important moments when his team needs them. Sam Curran is not yet in Stokes' class with bat or ball - and if he gets there he will become a very fine player indeed - but he is another cricketer who is making a name for himself not so much by the volume of runs he scores or the number of wickets he takes but by the importance of his runs and wickets in the matches he plays. His dismissal of Kane Williamson was the most important moment of the second day.
There is a debate about the type of cricketer Curran will become. Will he develop into a batsman who bowls? A genuine all-rounder? Will his bowling kick on so he can be a regular third seamer in all conditions?
There will, for a decent while yet, remain questions about the ability of Curran to consistently take wickets on flat pitches when the ball doesn't swing. He lacks the express pace to take the surface out of the equation or the height to generate steep bounce. At present, he remains to all intents and purposes a pitch it up swing bowler. Very dangerous in England and possibly limited away from home. His overseas record - averaging more than 100 before this series - is illustrative.
But yet, you can't help but think that Curran will find a way to be successful, that he will find a way to develop his skills in the manner Anderson has. He is simply too competitive, too unwilling to be denied. His combative attitude was a key reason he stood out to the coaches at Surrey's academy. He might not have been as strong as others technically but boy was he ahead of the rest in terms of desire to compete and desire to win. He could impact games where others couldn't.
That has been evident in nearly every Test he has played to date. In his first series against India, he was named man of the series and singled out for praise by Virat Kohli for key wickets and key lower order runs. When he came into the side during the Ashes, he made a difference.
That was part of the reason he got the nod over Chris Woakes for this game. Curran's overall Test record is similar to Woakes. With regards to their technical abilities, you could argue Woakes is the more proficient. He is certainly more experienced. But a combination of the variety Curran offers with his left-arm angle of attack and his ability to consistently change the momentum of a session or a day or a match, which Woakes hasn't done as often of late, makes Curran a difficult player to leave out.
The delivery to dismiss Williamson was a beauty. Banged into the pitch, it kicked off a length in a manner not normally associated with Curran's bowling. Admittedly, without the variable bounce, Williamson probably wouldn't have fended it off but the line was tight, the angle from over-the wicket was fresh - it was just the second ball of a new spell - and the effort was there. The speed gun only read 78mph but it looked a few more quicker than that.
And it resulted in the key moment of the day. Until that point, New Zealand's captain had looked serene and untroubled. On a flat pitch, he didn't seem like he would get out. If he had been unbeaten at the close, the home side would have been comfortable. Without him, still more than 200 runs behind, they now look vulnerable. It might have only been one wicket from one delivery. But in that moment, the session, the day, the match took on a different complexion.
"It probably took off a little bit, but that's a really good sign for us knowing we've got runs on the board," Curran said. "With a few more rolls, the wicket may start being a bit uneven. Fingers crossed 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. That will suit us."
Although it might be a cliche, Curran, like Stokes, does make things happen. He does do things which seem to change the course of matches. Whether it is his competitiveness, that he is still relatively unknown at Test level or just some good old fashioned luck, one thing cannot be denied: the sample size of these sort of moments continues to grow. Williamson's wicket was yet another to add to an impressive list.
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