Finn takes four to boost Test chances
Steven Finn has boosted his chances of playing in the third Test against India with an impressive display on the first day of the England Performance Programme's game against the D Y Patil Academy XI in Navi Mumbai.
Finn, who missed the first two Tests after sustaining a thigh strain during the opening warm-up match of the tour, claimed 4 for 50*, including a wicket in his first over, and worked up a considerable pace. If Finn suffers no reaction to his workload, he has an excellent chance of forcing his way into the England team for Kolkata in place of an out of sorts Stuart Broad, who has not claimed a wicket in the first two Tests.
Finn bowled four spells of four overs each and left the field on several occasions, but appeared untroubled by the exertion. As well as the wickets, he struck one batsman a painful blow on the hand and generated bounce from a sleepy surface that other bowlers struggled to find.
Earlier in the day England's bowling coach, David Saker, had hinted that a fully fit Finn would prove hard to ignore for the England selectors. "If he gets through unscathed and bowls well, his name will definitely be talked about for selection," Saker said. "He's got that x-factor, a bit of pace, that height that always means you could get variable bounce over here. So his name will be bandied around for sure for that second seamer's spot."
In contrast, Saker was less effusive about Broad. "There's a little bit of an issue, there's no doubt about it," he said. "He hasn't bowled as we would have liked, and he'd be the first to admit that. He's not the first bowler to come over here and find it hard."
Four other members of England's Test squad - Graham Onions, Joe Root, Stuart Meaker and Eoin Morgan - are also playing in the three-day match. Simon Kerrigan, the Lancashire left-arm spinner, claimed 4 for 61 with Meaker (1-34) beating the bat often without much luck. Legspinner Scott Borthwick took the other wicket.
Onions finished wicketless, but conceded only 11 runs from his 14 overs which included six maidens. Later Root compiled an unbeaten 40 off 57 balls as the EPP team began their reply while Varun Chopra had been dismissed.
November 27, 2.15pm: *Steven Finn's bowling figures were corrected
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo