England v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Lord's, 4th day

Steven Finn, the new Botham

Plays of the day from the 4th day of the 2nd Test between England and Sri Lanka at Lord's

Andrew Miller at Lord's

June 6, 2011

Comments: 28 | Text size: A | A

Steven Finn ended Tillakaratne Dilshan's long innings, England v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Lord's, June 5, 2011
With the wicket of Prasanna Jayawardene, Steven Finn became the youngest Englishman to reach 50 Test wickets, usurping Ian Botham © Getty Images

Milestone of the day
Steven Finn had been the cause of some concern in the England camp after his lacklustre efforts in the first part of Sri Lanka's innings, but to give the man his due, he's a proven wicket-taker and showed that once again today. Just as at Brisbane in November, when he scooped six wickets after a torrid time at the hands of Hussey and Haddin, so he responded to his beasting from Tillakaratne Dilshan with the respectable innings figures of 4 for 108. He now has exactly 50 wickets to his name, which makes him, at 22 years and 63 days, the youngest England player to reach that mark. Ian Botham was a full 196 days older when he did likewise in 1978, and while the similarities are few and far between, both men share a happy knack of collecting scalps on off-days.

Blow of the day
The wickets had a stimulating effect on Finn, for he grew visibly in confidence as the Sri Lanka tail came into his sights, and his efforts against the tenth-wicket pair of Suranga Lakmal and Chanaka Welegedara were especially hostile. Now restored to his full height, after falling away at the crease against the top order, he served up one searing bouncer that Lakmal had no choice but to wear. The ball didn't just strike the helmet, but crushed one side of it, and after a dazed delay, a replacement had to be called for.

Catch of the day
Andrew Strauss has now taken 100 catches in Test cricket - the 29th fielder to do so in Test history and the sixth Englishman - and fittingly he pulled off a blinder to mark the occasion. With Graeme Swann finding his groove after going wicketless in his first 30 overs, Dilhara Fernando propped forward outside off, and an edge fizzed hard and fast to Strauss's left. With his weight already committed in the opposite direction, he had no choice but to stick out a mitt and pray. Sure enough, his dominant hand was alert to the opportunity, and England moved one step closer to a first-innings lead.

Non-milestone of the day
Mahela Jayawardene was a stealthy presence in Sri Lanka's first innings. Without ever catching the eye in the manner of his captain, Dilshan, he crept along to 40 not out at the close of the third day, and seemed well set to push on to his third Test century in as many visits to Lord's - a record that only India's Dileep Vengsarkar can boast. However, today's resumption in damp conditions was a struggle, and after a streaky four through third man off Finn, Jayawardene was caught in two minds to another off-stump lifter, and fenced to Cook at third slip for 49.

Fail of the day
"There's always one batsman under the microscope," conceded Andrew Strauss on the eve of the Test, and lo and behold, that man might soon be the skipper himself. Kevin Pietersen's struggles against left-arm spin have been documented ad nauseam this series, but Strauss also has a left-arm issue, as shown by Welegedara in the opening over of the second innings. A second-ball outswinger curled into his back pad, and after wasting a review, he was sent on his way for a match total of 4 runs. It was the second time in the match that he'd been bagged by Welegedara, the ninth occasion in 12 months that he'd fallen to a left-arm quick, and the 21st occasion all told in his Test career. Zaheer Khan will be licking his lips come July.

Acclaim of the day
Jonathan Trott doesn't often york himself playing a forcing stroke, so it was something of a shock when he lost his leg stump to Rangana Herath's fourth ball of the second innings. But after the initial disbelieving silence, an excited hubbub spilled out from the crowd, because who else but Kevin Pietersen was coming out to face his nemesis. With two balls of the over still to negotiate, he strode diligently forward to both, and was rewarded for his discipline with loud and ironic cheers.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by meimo12 on (June 8, 2011, 12:48 GMT)

Well, you take it wrong. Comparing the new comers to greatest player is a way to encourage them because obviously the new players are smart enough to know that they aren't like that. You never know they turn out to be better than them in future so stop criticizing British/ English media.Its just not fair, if its our country we won't find anything wrong with it but since its some other team we will go out of our ways to find holes in them.

Posted by indianpunter on (June 7, 2011, 17:19 GMT)

Apologies to english fans who i might have inadvertently offended. To me, Ian Botham is one of the ' true greats' of the game and i am appalled at the pressure the english press puts on upcoming cricketers comparing them to the greatest. I have lived here for 2 decades to know that. I know that the context was not comparison, but still, the title could have been different. @ chilled avenger, dint know dravid said that ! @ Aniruddha1977- Dravid will meet his cricketing waterloo here,in england, this summer. Best India drops that pretender, right now!

Posted by   on (June 7, 2011, 9:57 GMT)

This is really crazy.. can anyone compare these too.. ??

Posted by craigdrm on (June 7, 2011, 9:23 GMT)

It didn't take long for Indian cricket fans to Highjack another Cricinfo article, If cricinfo ran an article on my local village team I would gaurentee within the hour some Indian cricket fan would be banging on about Tendulkar's average, Dhoni's captaincy ability or Harbhajan being the number one spinner in the world.

Posted by WPDDESILVA on (June 7, 2011, 9:08 GMT)

You British Media. Now all of a sudden he's Ian Botham! Typical Englisg Press.

Posted by   on (June 7, 2011, 8:48 GMT)

I'm really not sure people are getting the "comparison" between Finn and Sir Ian. It is based SOLELY on Finn getting to 50 wickets quicker than Beefy, and his ability to take wickets when bowling badly. It's not comparing his bowling style, his pace, his bounce, his swing, and it's not comparing his batting, his fielding, his on-field demeanour, none of them, just the time in which it took him to get 50 wickets, and how he can get them when not bowling at the top of his game! Context people, think about it...

Posted by   on (June 7, 2011, 8:21 GMT)

@Blake Houston - why not have all five? Collingwood is no longer in the team to absorb overs, and I'm not entirely convinced Trott will be able to fill the part-time role long-term.

Posted by   on (June 7, 2011, 7:19 GMT)

Finn has the best strike rate of all the england bowlers, and also the lowest bowling avg, followed closely by swann and tremlett. Finn is young and a genuine wicket taker, yes he bowls some bad balls, yes his economy rate is higher then the other bowlers, what is important in tests is not how fast runs are scored, but HOW MANY runs are scored. In this case finn is excellant. It is good to have Finn because he is very attacking bowler and it gives them variety. Stuart Broad is an ALLROUNDER not a SPECIALIST BOWLER, for tests, broad does well in ODI's but if england want a out and out pace bowler then they need to look elsewhere. my bowling attack would be Swann, Finn, Anderson and tremlett for tests.

Posted by Aniruddha1977 on (June 7, 2011, 6:36 GMT)

@chilled_avenger... so true. Dravid's comments were unfortunate. His confused thinking is reflecting in his batting too. I hope he puts things in place in England, we will need him there.

Posted by stormy16 on (June 7, 2011, 6:34 GMT)

I see Eng's search and comparisson of anyone even remotely compairable to Bothom continues. When you think of some of the guys who have been thrown in here only Flintoff measures up. Obviously the article is only compairing the bowling of Finn but you simply cannot talk about Botham without his batting and catching and ability to make an impact. Finn is impressive no doubt but needs to control things better as he has too many loose spells which take the game away.

Posted by indianzen on (June 7, 2011, 6:19 GMT)

I am just waiting every second to see Zaheer Vs Strauss, Bajji Vs Peterson , Ishant Vs Cook, Laxman Vs Finn and Anderson Vs Sachin... I feel that rather than vs SL, Eng Vs Ind will be a close one to watch out...

Posted by stationmaster on (June 7, 2011, 5:31 GMT)

Give me Finn over Broad anyday. Broad is like a spoiled brat when things don;t go his way, I like the way Finn works at things, and it also won;t be long before he has both better bowling and batting average than Broad.

Posted by notvery on (June 7, 2011, 4:04 GMT)

@RaneshP. please! one of the best english allrounders... beefy had a couple of great series and then threw it all away, no one to blame but himself. you can name English allrounders all day that are head and shoulders above Sir Ian. Had he maintained consistency then yes he probably would be the greatest. But he believed what was written about him.

Posted by chilled_avenger on (June 7, 2011, 3:27 GMT)

@indianpunter Its still more reasonable than calling Harbhajan Singh the next "Garry Sobers".Although its sad to know that one of my all time favorite batsman gave this remark!

Posted by denwarlo70 on (June 7, 2011, 2:39 GMT)

Oh please, it was no great bowling for God's sake, it was horrible batting and yes, I agree with indianpunter. There were so many cricketers referred to as the new Ian Botham but those names never went on to justify their comparison to the great English cricketer of the 70's and 80's Sir Ian Botham.

Posted by RaneshP on (June 7, 2011, 2:28 GMT)

Sir Ian Botham!!!! Steve Finn does not come even close to being anything like Sir Ian. Please do not insult one of the finest all rounders produced by England (if not, THE finest) by even linking his name to a novice like Steve Finn.

Posted by shahzaibq on (June 7, 2011, 2:08 GMT)

Thank you @Trickstar And @ bobmartin: For many cricinfo readers, anyone NOT named Sachin Tendulkar is not worthy of praise, I guess! Any article on here gets turned into an argument over why Sachin is better... Watch as Dhoni's fans start taking over these discussions once Sachin retires!

Posted by dsig3 on (June 7, 2011, 1:13 GMT)

Well done to Finn, he really could be something. When he was in Aus I was impressed with his demeanor in the field. Its something Broad should work on. I find it curious that England produce so many tall fast bowlers. Flintoff, Harmison, Tremlett, Finn, Broad. All well over 6'6. Frustrating for an Aussie if only we had one.

Posted by Praxis on (June 7, 2011, 1:05 GMT)

@indianpunter, read the article first.

Posted by   on (June 6, 2011, 22:37 GMT)

Yea sure Finn... ball some bouncers at the tail-enders... GreeaaT fast bowling...

note the sarcasm

Posted by allblue on (June 6, 2011, 21:34 GMT)

You need a number of qualities to succeed as a test cricketer. Ability obviously, but also the strength of character to come back after a tough period. Finn clearly still has a few technical ticks to work out, and on the Lords track poor bowling will be punished and Finn suffered. But despite those setbacks he got it together late yesterday, and today came back strong to take wickets. Once he gets his action properly grooved he is going to be a formidable Test bowler, and at only twenty-two he is a very exciting prospect. On a parochial note, it was nice to see a Middlesex one-two today as Finn got his fiftieth wicket and Strauss his hundredth catch on their home ground. Congratulations to them both.

Posted by bobmartin on (June 6, 2011, 21:08 GMT)

@Trickstar You're absolutely right. Too many self confessed experts post comments on what they think has been written, not what has actually been written. I can only guess indianpunter read the headline rather than the whole article... but that's the way that type is. I guess we should be grateful that at least Tendulkar wasn't brought into the discussion, as so usually happens with Indian supporters who respond to these discussions.

Posted by 5wombats on (June 6, 2011, 20:43 GMT)

Sri Lanka are now completely out of this match - I can't see them taking 8 quick wickets in the morning to give themselves a gettable total. I can't see Strauss giving Sri Lanka a sniff on the declaration either. So; Cook to get yet another ton & KP, Bell, Morgan & Prior all have a slog. Declaration an hour after lunch with a lead of 380-400 leaving around 55 overs. Today Sri lanka lost 7 for 107 in 32 overs. Swann starting to have an impact now and pleasing to see Finn get his act together. England only needed 25 overs in Cardiff.... :-)

Posted by Trickstar on (June 6, 2011, 20:33 GMT)

@indianpunter If 'these englishmen never learn', you could also say, going on what you've just posted, these Indians should learn to read things in context. Since when, has Finn ever being described as an all rounder, because the names you were mentioning were talked up as all rounders, or the next Botham, bit of a leap to put Finn in that list isn't it? The comparison with Botham is with age and age alone and how young he's got to 50 wickets beating Botham's record, but oh no, trust someone to come on here, to scoff at the accomplishment and along the way, you've proved without any doubt, that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.

Posted by Herath-UK on (June 6, 2011, 20:05 GMT)

England is probably the number one team now though should enhance that situation by being positive declaring tomorrow giving a fair acheivable target to Sri Lanka around 250 in 50 overs and not something over 300 which is negative and old thinking. They have a good bowling attack and Cardiff is not forgotten yet,so give a sporting chance to Sri Lanka if they want to claim high ground. Ranil Herath - Kent

Posted by indianpunter on (June 6, 2011, 19:47 GMT)

The new Botham? I thought it was mark ealham ? Oops, wasnt it Dominic Cork, No.. sorry.. it was Craig White.. these englishmen never learn.

Posted by RohanMarkJay on (June 6, 2011, 19:41 GMT)

Yes, the tall speedsters that England has in its armoury right now is quite formidable for any Test batting line up. Finn, Tremlett, Broad, Anderson and a good Emburey like spinner in Swann thrown in for good measure. Plus they have good batsman like Strauss, Broad and Trott to back up em up. Opposition would have to hope they bowl badly to get runs off them. Like Sri Lanka did. Otherwise if they get it right scoring runs of these guys will be really challenging. Sri Lanka has excellent batsman, but it would count for nought if they can't find at least genuine speedster or another great spinner like Murali, otherwise they will always be a good one day team never a good test team. Also Indian fans can crow all they want but if this bowling gets it right they will blow India away. Could be a great test series, England v India this summer.

Posted by   on (June 6, 2011, 19:12 GMT)

As long as the weather hold tomorrow looks like it could be a great day. My guess England try and press for 320 lead by lunch and declare. Just about gettable target if Sri Lanka take the "One Day" mindset, but the pitch is starting to show wear now - even if it's more like a 3rd day wicket than a 4th. 5+ an over for 60 overs with no fielding restrictions and no blowing restirictions and on a 5th day pitch makes it quite a different prospect to a real ODI game - but I can't see Dilshan turning down the chance for glory if he's offeed it. Is MJ or Sam were still in charge SL might be more cautious - but one down in the series and Dil in charge makes it all the more likely SL will go for the win if they get a chance. Let's see!

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
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