Curran, who was given a life on seven and 53 said he realised the Lankans had become jittery after Jos Buttler's brisk half-century, who came into bat at 65/3. His knock went a long way in digging the English out of trouble.
"Jos came in and played the way we know he can do: sweeping, reverse sweeping, running down - they looked like they started to panic a little bit," Curran said at the end of the day’s play.
"It got to the stage after lunch where he was almost reverse sweeping or sweeping every ball, the field was all over the place."
Curran top scored for the visitors with a swashbuckling 64 which saw him smash six maximums and put together a record 10th wicket stand of 60 with fast bowler James Anderson. It was this pair that helped the English reach 285 in their first innings. Curran also registered his third fifty in his 11th Test innings after having made his debut against Pakistan earlier in the year, and believes that his side have enough on the board at this point in time.
"It was crucial. Getting close to 300 was massive for us. Me and Jimmy had quite a bit of fun out there. He was probably the one telling me to calm down and trust him," he said.
"You've just got to back your ability, take the risks when you need to. Joe Root has been massive in the dressing room saying 'don't worry about making mistakes'. We're just trying to go out with a positive mind-set."
Before stumps, the hosts had to come out and played a few overs and England managed to find a wicket as Jack Leach dismissed the opener Kaushal Silva. The Lankans ended the day on 26 for the loss of one wicket and trail England by 259 runs.
According to Curran, England's spinners - Leach, Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali - are going to be very important to the cause as they hunt a series-sealing win in Kandy.
"You saw in the evening how much it spun. The next couple of days are going to be exciting for spin bowlers and batters are going to be on their toes," he added.
"Spinners are going to have a huge role and we've got three great spinners all bowling very nicely. We have a score we're fairly happy about with the surface breaking up and cracks getting a bit bigger."
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First Published: November 14, 2018, 11:38 PM IST