England v NZ, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 4th day May 27, 2013

Finn's brute

ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the fourth day at Headingley

Quarter-century of the day

With the aid of a fumble by the cover fielder, Alastair Cook moved further clear of England's other Test century-makers with his 25th hundred. Such are the high standards now expected of Cook, it had been noted that he had not been quite at the top of his game since his previous hundred in Dunedin but he was back to his best in this innings. During the course of his innings he went past 10,000 runs across all international formats with the promise of many more to come.

Youthful exuberance of the day

England's second innings prompted much discussion about tactics, but when Joe Root came to the middle he just got on with his job with the same smile he was worn for the whole match. He was quickly into one-day (or Twenty20) mode and showed, again, how he holds no fear at this level. Against Neil Wagner, still maintaining decent pace despite New Zealand's awful situation, Root calmly reverse swept the quick bowler through the vacant slip cordon for the most cheeky boundary of the match.

Brute of the day

Perhaps Steven Finn had just heard about Watford's failed attempt to reach the Premier League with defeat in the Play-Off final at Wembley because the delivery he produced to remove Dean Brownlie verged on unplayable. There had been signs of some uneven bounce and when Finn banged in a short ball - although not quite a full-on bouncer - it reared towards Brownlie and followed him as he tried to sway out of the line. His instincts took over and he fended at it with his gloves, the ball lobbing up to provide gully with a simple catch. Hostile fast bowling.

Working over of the day

While Finn makes batsmen uncomfortable with pace and bounce, Graeme Swann does it with guile and deception. He had been all over Martin Guptill in the first innings - for his brief stay - and worked him over again second time around. He began by searching for the same gate that he spun through yesterday, but in the end it was the arm ball (or, as Swann would probably say, the one that didn't spin) which took Guptill's edge to slip. It has not been a happy Test return for him.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on May 28, 2013, 3:16 GMT

    11 games as captain and 7 centuries for Cook- responsibility doesn't seem to have adversely affected his game.

    @daybreak02: while I agree that Finn isn't a real express bowler, this has been a slow radar gun. All the bowlers on both sides have averaged about 5mph less than they did in NZ. Since Finn's faster deliveries here have been 86-88mph on this gun, add 5mph and you have an idea of what he would have registered in NZ. I don't know which gun is right and it doesn't matter- the batsmen's reactions tell you whether he is bowling fast or not. He is.

    Boycott was wrong, as he often is. I was at Lord's in the late 1970s and saw Ian Gould hit a fearful blow on the head and knocked unconscious by Colin Croft. Gould was taken to hospital and I really thought he might have been severely injured. Luckily he recovered and is now an elite umpire, but that incident convinced me that helmets were a necessity. I have no desire to see someone killed to prove their manhood.

  • Martin on May 27, 2013, 22:32 GMT

    @wgtnpom (May 27, 2013, 20:02 GMT) - your analysis is completely wrong. Boycott didn't play for England because he couldn't stand Mike Denness and refused to play in his team. Boycott absolutely was NOT afraid of any bowler, any time....

  • Andrew on May 27, 2013, 22:12 GMT

    @Herbet yes I was being a bit tongue in cheek. I know Boycott was upset with Denness's appointment as captain but there was speculation at the time about how keen he really was about facing the world's fastest bowlers. In his defence he pulled out of the England team in the middle of a series against a very weak Indian team that had next to no fast bowling attack. It's ironic though that his comments were made about the only man in history who's scored more Test hundreds for England than he has. Like a famous Yorkshire fast bowler of a slightly earlier time, I think GB is sometimes not convinced that anyone playing now could hold a candle to him. But as someone else said, at least Boycott talks sense most of the time, we don't get "I just don't know what's going off out there", which wasn't that helpful from an expert summariser...

  • Richard on May 27, 2013, 21:19 GMT

    @wgtnpom Boycott got a century against Holding, Roberts, Garner and Croft in 81, and against Lillee in 79 and 81. He missed three years in the mid seventies (before the WIndies quick's came to full prominence) because of a fall out over the England captaincy, not because he wussed out. After he retired he was much in demand for his coaching on how to play fast bowling, particularly by Robin Smith.

  • Peter on May 27, 2013, 20:19 GMT

    @ R_U_4_REAL_NICK What Boycott was trying to say is that the invention of helmets has led to batsmen picking up the bad habit of taking their eyes off the ball, knowing that they have the protection to save them but also meaning the don't have to watch the ball and get out of the way. Despite his abbrasive, straight-talking style, Boycott does usually talk sense, he was probably being unnecessarily harsh to Cook.

    @ Front-Foot-Lunge Whilst Finn was pretty hostile today, it was down to the bounce not the pace. This is a strange misconception with Finn, that he is a genuine 'fast' bowler. He was clocking in at 82-85mph today. Quick enough but no Brett Lee.

  • Andrew on May 27, 2013, 20:02 GMT

    Well I remember that back in the day the fast bowling was too much for Boycott and he decided not to play for England for three years when Lillee, Thomson, Roberts, Holding et al were around. He came back when that lot had lost a bit of their fire power. No wonder batsmen (ie himself) didn't get hit on the head back then...

  • j on May 27, 2013, 18:52 GMT

    We all know what Finny's capable of. Pace, seam and bounce. Ozzies will remember him as recently as last year clearing up the likes of Warner last year in the 2012 One-Day Whitewash. He is was just too quick for NZ today.

  • Nicholas on May 27, 2013, 18:38 GMT

    When Cook got clonked on the helmet, Boycott quipped something about "they never got hit on the head before the days of helmets!" What was his point, I wonder? Better batsmen (that avoided getting hit by the ball) back in his time, or better, more brutal bowling these days that sometimes aim one for the head?