England v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Lord's, 4th day June 6, 2011

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

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • maria 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.

  • kannan 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!

  • Dummy4 on June 7, 2011, 9:57 GMT

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

  • Craig 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.

  • Deleepa on June 7, 2011, 9:08 GMT

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

  • Dummy4 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...

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Aniruddha 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.

  • Dru 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.

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