Finn not at gold stan­dard but picks up Silva

The Herald - Herald Sport - - GUINNESS PRO12 FINAL - DAVID CLOUGH

STEVEN FINN ad­mits he is still search­ing for his elu­sive best, but is con­fi­dent he served Eng­land well on a frus­trat­ing day as Sri Lanka held them up at Ch­ester-le-Street.

Eng­land ap­peared likely to wrap up the In­vestec se­ries with a sec­ond suc­ces­sive in­nings vic­tory in­side three days, af­ter Sri Lanka were bowled out for 101 and asked to fol­low on 397 runs be­hind.

But half-cen­turies from their cap­tain An­gelo Mathews (80), opener Kaushal Silva (60) and Di­nesh Chandi­mal (54no) made a mock­ery of their pre­vi­ous strug­gles as they closed on 309 for five.

Finn’s soli­tary suc­cess, the wicket of Silva, came af­ter he stirred him­self up and found a lit­tle ex­tra life in a docile pitch.

It was re­ward for a hard-work­ing spell, and Eng­land’s col­lec­tive ef­forts, as Sri Lanka at last pro­duced a worth­while rear­guard af­ter col­lapses here and at Head­in­g­ley last week.

For Finn, there were signs he is be­gin­ning to find his feet again af­ter a slow start to the sum­mer for club and coun­try on his re­turn from a side in­jury.

“It’s no se­cret I’ve been search­ing for rhythm – it’s been there in patches,” he said. “It’s hard to find some­thing as a bowler that makes it click, when you are search­ing for it – maybe I’ve been do­ing that this sum­mer, I’ve been desperate for form and rhythm.”

He has had to be pa­tient, and was again – but tried to move up a gear by en­gag­ing in a bat­tle, ver­bally at one point, with the bats­man.

“It helps take your thought process away from the pitch.

“The um­pires said don’t use any bad lan­guage – which I ad­hered to – [and I de­cided to] run in as hard as I can.”

Eng­land must hope for swifter progress on the fourth morn­ing.

“It’s been a good hard slog – we ex­pected Sri Lanka to show more ap­pli­ca­tion,” said Finn.

“They showed more in­tent run­ning be­tween the wick­ets, and the pitch isn’t 100 all out.

“In an ideal world, we’d have wrapped it up today. [But] it was go­ing to be tough to get 10 wick­ets in a day – it’s very slow and low.

“We have two of the best new-ball bowlers [in the world] – so to­mor­row is a great op­por­tu­nity to make early in­roads.” Gor­don Goudie looked back on his maiden cen­tury and ad­mit­ted he was in no frame of mind for over­the-top cel­e­bra­tions.

The Scot­land man em­barked on a spree to pro­pel cham­pi­ons Grange to a win against strug­gling Stoney­wood-Dyce. But Goudie made it clear he would rather it had been against dif­fer­ent op­po­nents.

He said: “Stoney­wood were the club that launched my ca­reer. Of course I was de­lighted to get some runs and a first ever hun­dred, but it was a bit­ter-sweet ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Goudie smashed 132 from only 71 de­liv­er­ies, paving the way for Grange to race to the tar­get in only 19.5 overs – a re­mark­able rate of scor­ing, even in the T20 for­mat.

In a low-scor­ing en­counter, Wat­so­ni­ans were on course to stroll to their ex­pected win against He­riot’s, be­fore Adrian Neill clicked into gear. He took all seven wick­ets, but the south city men held their nerve when it mat­tered to limp to the fin­ish­ing line, re­main­ing at the top of the ta­ble in the process.

Else­where, Aberdeen­shire shook the jit­ters to beat newly pro­moted Glen­rothes while an­other pow­er­ful all-round show­ing from Safyaan Sharif for Falk­land couldn’t save them from los­ing to Carl­ton.

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