Curran takes three wickets as De Villers stars for Proteas

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South Africa's Chris Morris (2nd R) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of England's Sam Billings during the second international Twenty20 cricket match between England and South Africa at The Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton.

UNITED KINGDOM – Tom Curran took three wickets on his England debut as South Africa captain AB de Villiers led an improved batting display in the second Twenty20 international at Taunton.

The tourists' total of 174 for eight was a significant improvement on the 142 for three they managed during a nine-wicket defeat at Southampton on Wednesday, which put England 1-0 up in the three-match series.

De Villiers made 46 on Friday, with Surrey quick Curran taking an impressive three for 33 in his maximum four overs after England captain Eoin Morgan sent the Proteas into bat.

 

 

Curran, the son of the late former Zimbabwe international Kevin, struck with just his second ball in international cricket when Reeza Hendricks bottom-edged a pull into his stumps.

But new batsman Mangaliso Mosehle, promoted up the order, pulled the lively Curran for six.

He broke his bat in the process but, with a new blade, still drove the next ball down the ground for four.

Meanwhile opener Jon-Jon Smuts hit a scorching straight four off Curran that would have taken out umpire Michael Gough but for a deflection off the stumps.

 

 

But Mosehle (15), after breaking his second bat as well, was caught behind gloving a slower ball from paceman Liam Plunkett (two for 36).

Smuts struck Liam Dawson for six but the left-arm spinner had his revenge when the batsman, on 45, completed mistimed a full toss and was caught by Plunkett at short fine leg,

The dangerous David Miller fell for just eight when he edged Plunkett through to wicket-keeper Jos Buttler, back on the Somerset ground where he made his name before moving to Lancashire.

But de Villiers kept the runs coming, hitting four sixes in his 20-ball innings -- including an extraordinary sweep off one knee against left-arm paceman David Willey that saw the ball fly out of the ground and into the River Tone.

 

 

Willey, to his credit, had de Villiers caught in the covers next ball.

Curran then had all-rounder Chris Morris caught in the deep off a slower ball.

The 22-year-old, showing his range of deliveries, then bowled Andile Phehlukwayo for a golden duck with an excellent yorker.

Farhaan Behardien added a useful 32 before he was lbw to the often wayward Jordan in the last over.