Open­ing ar­gu­ment

FINCH DUCK REIGNITES DE­BATE ABOUT HIS BEST SPOT IN TEST OR­DER

Shepparton News - - SPORT -

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.

Pic­ture: AAP Im­age/David Mar­iuz

Cas­tle de­mol­ished: Opener Aaron Finch was bowled for a third­ball duck in his first Test in­nings on Aus­tralian soil at the Ade­laide Oval yes­ter­day.

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