Finn states his case for Ashes selection ahead of first Test
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