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June 30, 2012
Steven Finn benefits from support rather more advanced than a helpful pat on the back whenever he makes his way back to his mark. England's choice of five front-line bowlers has not only granted them a formidable range of options - their assortment of intellectual property is just as valuable.
Finn was the sharpest of the home attack at Lord's, topping 90 miles per hour on the way to a tidy 2 for 47 as England beat Australia by 15 runs in the first ODI. But he gained much from the advice afforded him by others who looked less fresh, namely Jimmy Anderson, Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad.
Where once England cricketers kept to themselves, having a greater affinity for county teammates than national ones, now the team shares information freely, on the field as well as off it. Finn was helped by the presence of David Hussey's fellow Nottinghamshire representative Stuart Broad, who among others had the opportunity to suggest the short ball that brought about Hussey's downfall midway through Finn's spell.
"At the end of our marks everyone talks to each other," Finn said ahead of Sunday's second ODI against Australia at the Oval. "Everyone passes on their own information that they have found has worked for them in the over before, and it is a great unit to be involved in because everyone shares their own information. You have to hunt as a pack and bowl as a unit to get results.
"It is the same principle bowling at the death. You find a method that the team has thought has worked in that game on that wicket and we stick to it and we bowl it. We make them hit our best balls. I can learn off anyone. I learn a lot from talking to Jimmy, Broady and Bres because they have played a lot of one-day cricket and I don't think the pace necessarily matters too much. You can get away with a bit more if you're faster but the ball has to be hard to hit on that length. You have to find a method that works on that wicket and stick to it."
Finn's rhythm was exceptional on the day, leading Warner to say he was the best of England's bowlers "by far". "His pace, his line and lengths were fantastic. When I was out, he started swinging the ball away from the right-handers. He was the best by far," Warner said. "With his pace and his accuracy to hit those right lines, he's fantastic for them -- and yesterday I felt Anderson and Broad were a little bit tired."
The sight of the speed gun passing the 90 mark was pleasing to Finn, but less important to his progress than the fact he was putting the ball where he wanted to and moving it either way. "The more important thing is what you do with the ball and where you put it, especially in Test match cricket," Finn said. "If I can get quicker then great but it is not something that occupies my mind. It is nice that that has developed over the last 12 to 18 months and has come on leaps and bounds from where I was 18 months ago. I will keep doing the work behind the scenes that hopefully will keep me going in that fashion."
Another to enjoy the series opener was Eoin Morgan, who Finn has watched closely at Middlesex. He was unsurprised to see Morgan's blazing efforts at the end of England's innings, having seen a similar range of strokeplay before.
"I have played a lot of cricket with Eoin, since we were 16 years old, and I have seen him do it lots of time before," Finn said. "It is no surprise he is doing it in international cricket - he is one of the best players in the world especially in the sort of situation he played in at Lord's.
"He played himself in and then let loose and to have him around and in the team with his experience - he has played a lot of one-day cricket with Ireland, Middlesex and England - and to have someone like that in those situations is fantastic. How he comes up with some of those shots I have got no idea. He is a little wizard."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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