Finn not at gold standard but picks up Silva
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.