FINCH DUCK REIGNITES DEBATE ABOUT HIS BEST SPOT IN TEST ORDER
With a single cover drive at Adelaide Oval, Aaron Finch reignited debate about his best place in the order and cricket’s cramped schedule.
Finch was dismissed for a demoralising third-ball duck yesterday, when his first Test innings on home soil ended with Ishant Sharma uprooting two stumps.
Finch, having left his first two deliveries, had no option but to play the pinpoint ball that nipped back and zeroed in on his off stump.
But rather than defending, Finch played a far more expansive stroke and edged the Kookaburra onto his stumps.
It came a week after Finch played his only first-class game since Australia’s Test tour of the UAE, having otherwise been restricted to ODIs and Twenty20s as the national white-ball captain.
It also came after much public debate about whether Finch, stationed in the middle order for most of his first-class career, should be facing the new ball.
Victoria coach Andrew McDonald is adamant Finch, a batsman he has known since they were state team mates then mentored in recent years, should not open in red-ball cricket.
Former Test openers Simon Katich and Ed Cowan are among those who agree, but Justin Langer and Tim Paine decided Finch should stay at the top of the order.
‘‘They were caught in a tough situation because Aaron Finch opened and had a very good tour of the UAE, but those conditions suit his game,’’ Katich said on SEN after Finch fell.
‘‘The conditions here are different. There’s more grass on the wicket, more pace and bounce.
‘‘There’s a reason he’s been batting down the order for Victoria . . . they know their players better than anyone. Andrew McDonald is a good judge.’’
Katich noted Finch’s preparation for the four-Test series had been compromised by playing so much white-ball cricket recently.
‘‘Because of the nature of the schedule, which he has no control over, he comes in potentially underdone,’’ he said.
Finch’s shot selection was particularly concerning given he had just watched most members of India’s top order help bring about their own demise through misplaced aggression.
Former Test opener Michael Slater, who spoke with Finch yesterday morning, felt it was a case of instinct taking over.
‘‘He was talking very much about the (Cheteshwar) Pujara innings and how it showed them how to get through the moving ball and what is required,’’ Slater said on Seven.
‘‘Aaron Finch is still learning to be an opening batsman.’’
Usman Khawaja or Shaun Marsh could potentially open if Paine decides Finch, included in a squad for the first two Tests, should be demoted down the order.
Castle demolished: Opener Aaron Finch was bowled for a thirdball duck in his first Test innings on Australian soil at the Adelaide Oval yesterday.