Finn states his case for Ashes se­lec­tion ahead of first Test

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

STEVEN FINN bounced back from an early pound­ing to state his case as Eng­land’s third seamer for the Ashes se­ries opener as Cricket Aus­tralia In­vi­ta­tional XI took the tourists into a fi­nal day yes­ter­day.

Finn was on the re­ceiv­ing end of a sav­aging from one-day in­ter­na­tional opener Aaron Finch be­fore hit­ting back with a key wicket late on the third day at the Syd­ney Cricket Ground.

Chris Trem­lett ap­pears the front run­ner for the first Test in Bris­bane, but the mer­its of Finn’s five-wicket first in­nings haul against an In­vi­ta­tional XI have kept him in the frame.

The tourists took a 114-run ad­van­tage from the first in­nings af­ter scor­ing 418 less than a week out from the Ashes se­ries start against Aus­tralia.

Finch blasted a whirl­wind 59 off 60 balls and Ed Cowan a more se­date 42 to wipe out Eng­land’s lead, but the tourists re­moved the top three bats­men to take a grip on the game into to­day’s fourth and fi­nal day.

At the close on the third day, the in­vi­ta­tional side was 153/4 with Kur­tis Pat­ter­son on eight and first in­nings top scorer Ryan Carters on one.

Finch reprised his one-day in­ter­na­tional form with an ad­ven­tur­ous knock and fell to Test spin­ner Graeme Swann af­ter slam­ming him for six off the pre­vi­ous ball.

Stuart Broad re­moved for­mer Test opener Cowan with one that kept a lit­tle low and Finn bowled one-day in­ter­na­tional bats­man Cal­lum Fer­gu­son with a beau­ti­ful de­liv­ery for 26.

“It’s not ideal con­di­tions for fast bowlers with the (sandy) run- ups and ev­ery­thing,” Finch said.

“I thought Finn’s spell to­wards the end with the old ball was out­stand­ing.

“He found re­verse swing, had it go­ing around pretty well and the ball that knocked Cal­lum Fer­gu­son over was ball of the day.”

Ben Rohrer was the fourth man down when he pulled out of a hook shot only to get an edge off Boyd Rankin and went for 13.

Eng­land were ear­lier dis­missed for 418, adding 116 runs with the loss of five wick­ets af­ter re­sum­ing on the penul­ti­mate day at 302/5.

Joe Root scored 75 off 106 balls with nine fours be­fore he was bowled at­tempt­ing a pull shot off Ni­cholas Bills.

Jonathan Trott top-scored with 83, skip­per Alas­tair Cook hit 81 and Kevin Pi­etersen 57 as most of Eng­land’s top or­der got starts ahead of the Novem­ber 21 open­ing Ashes Test against Aus­tralia at the Gabba.

Wick­et­keeper Jonny Bairstow chipped in with 48 off 96 balls and was caught be­hind at­tempt­ing to cut pace­man Chris Tre­main.

Bairstow could yet fig­ure in the open­ing Test if reg­u­lar keeper Matt Prior fails to re­cover in time from a calf strain picked up in last week’s tour match against Aus­tralia A in Ho­bart.

“It’s filled me with con­fi­dence and if that op­por­tu­nity does come along I do feel as though I’d do a de­cent job,” Bairstow said.

As Eng­land were out in the field Prior worked hard on the train­ing park and in the gym to try to over­come his calf in­jury.

Leg- spin­ner James Muirhead fin­ished the best of the In­vi­ta­tional XI’s bowlers with 4/115 off 22.5 overs, while Bills claimed 3/76. – Sapa-AFP

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