Sri Lanka v England 2011-12

Finn hopeful of England recall

Andrew McGlashan

March 31, 2012

Comments: 47 | Text size: A | A

Steven Finn has Prasanna Jayawardene caught behind, Sri Lanka Board XI v England XI, tour match, Colombo, 3rd day, March 17, 2012
Steven Finn took seven wickets during England's two warm-up games in Sri Lanka © AFP
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Steven Finn is keeping his fingers crossed that he is the man chosen to replace the injured Stuart Broad for the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo. Broad was forced to fly home on Friday with a calf injury leaving England needing to fill a fast-bowling slot as they aim to level the series and cling onto their No. 1 Test ranking.

Finn, who has taken 50 wickets at 26.92 in 12 Tests, has endured a frustrating time on the sidelines of the five-day team despite consistently impressive one-day form against India and Pakistan. Since being dropped after the third Ashes Test in Perth he has played just one more match, against Sri Lanka at Lord's, but has made sure he has channelled his disappointment into a drive to improve.

"We don't know who is going to play, but if I get my opportunity I'm ready to take it," Finn said. "I have felt as though I have been ready for a little while now. I have done a lot of bowling this winter and a lot of work on becoming a better bowler. Hopefully I can reap the rewards of that if I get a chance."

Despite not yet playing a Test during England's overseas campaigns in 2012 Finn hasn't been short of bowling. He was the stand-out performer during the 5-0 one-day whitewash against India, taking eight wickets at 31.62, before a trip to New Zealand to play domestic cricket for Otago. He didn't fill his boots in the Plunket Shield - taking nine wickets in four matches - but it kept him ticking over. Then, after sitting out the Test series against Pakistan in the UAE, he claimed an outstanding 13 wickets at 10.30 in the four-match ODI series. Finn admits to moments of frustration but has learned to be patient.

"When you have the ups and downs of being in the mix but not playing you can feel down pretty quickly but it's a team game and we need to have a strong squad," he said. "We have to be able to compensate for injuries as we'll have to in this next Test match. All I can do as a back-up player is to be ready when the opportunity comes."

However, it may not be quite so simple as a straight swap of Finn for Broad. That one change would give England a tail of Finn, James Anderson and Monty Panesar which could leave Andy Flower uneasy. Tim Bresnan is an all-round option, although to play him as one two quicks may not be enough given Bresnan's lack of bowling in recent months so they may have to consider dropping Monty Panesar.

"Broad is a huge and important player for us but we've got a group of guys in the wings who can cover for him," Finn said. "But Broady is a massive part of the team and will be missed."

Finn also repeated the mantra from the dressing room that the team remains in good spirits despite four straight Test defeats. Another reversal in Colombo and England will concede top spot in the rankings to South Africa and it could get worse than that. If Australia then go on and whitewash West Indies in their three-Test series, they will move above England into second.

"Yes, we've lost four Tests this winter but we've been in positions to win three of them," Finn said. "We are not out of the hunt. We got to No. 1 for a reason and we just have to keep the belief. A lot of things over the last two or three years have gone our way and we realise it does come around to even itself out."

Edited by Alan Gardner

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JG2704 on (April 2, 2012, 9:53 GMT)

@Chetan007 I don't know why that is. If the pitch isn't taking likely to take much spin then I'm not totally against dropping Monty as a tactical thing but while they are prepared to do this , they seem unprepared to change things tactically by dropping a batsman for a bowler which they've not tried for the whole 2012 inc the warm up games. Not sure why this is - there seems no consistency between how the bowlers are treated and how the batsmen are treated , whether it's because they have some theory that bowlers can turn on their form with a switch or because we have less depth with our batsmen. I wonder what would happen if our batsmen were racking up big totals which our bowlers weren't able to defend. Does anyone think they'd be given 4 losing tests to get it right?

Posted by   on (April 2, 2012, 6:48 GMT)

i think finn should play instead of broad and bresnan should be rested therefore leaving samit, swann, anderson, finn and panesar as the bowlers. i feel that a simple swap of finn for broad would be good because before the tail, they have 8 players who have recognized batting talent but the most important factor for a team's victory is their bowlers. the team has to have bowlers capable of taking 20 wickets. In sub continent conditions, you need spinners and england have 3 in their ranks. So, replacing a spin bowler( panesar)with an all-rounder( bresnan) would not be tat good a choice considering the bowling form of bresnan in recent times also. Moreover, you already have 8 potential batsmen, so why think of another instead of strengthening the bowling department, which is the most important factor for winning a test. Finn is a quality bowler who would be an ideal replacement for broad with his height and lankiness.

Posted by Meety on (April 2, 2012, 2:15 GMT)

Dunno - but I think it will be a runfest in this test. SL really need to look at their new ball bowlers, I think they'll almost be better off playing 4 spinners. Backing centuries from KP, Sanga, & Samaweera.

Posted by JG2704 on (April 1, 2012, 21:47 GMT)

@Greatest_Game on (April 01 2012, 14:42 PM GMT) Earned every gloat - Hang on a minute there were more gloats during the ODI whitewash by India than there were comments at the end of the Eng test whitewash. And then when India are whitewashed by Aus and fail to qualify for 2 ODI finals with a huge field of 4 and 3 teams , do we come on your threads and gloat about your team's demise? And then you accuse us of Jingoism when we have been our own fiercest critics. Once again , our fans' reaction to our defeats has been class. Pakistan fans downplayed reaction to their test victory and our downplayed reaction to winning that OD series were both class and I believe we will always have respect for team Pakistan. Your "If SL triumph in Colombo, the gloating will become unbearable" says it all really.

Posted by JG2704 on (April 1, 2012, 21:10 GMT)

@jb633 on (April 01 2012, 00:35 AM GMT) A bit drastic with Strauss but I like your positive thinking. However I do feel Strauss's onfield captaincy has been good and they might miss that aspect. Also I'm not convinced about Ravi in pressure situations

Posted by   on (April 1, 2012, 16:51 GMT)

JG2704 is right. If 5 batsmen can't get the runs, 6 hardly makes much of a difference. An aggressive strategy with 5 attacking bowlers seem to be the best option to arrest the unfortunate trend of losses -- which almost made me joke about England trying to catch up with the latest Indian record of 8 straight losses in tests.

Posted by   on (April 1, 2012, 16:45 GMT)

Please allow England to catch up with the Indian record, the way they caught with the No.1 ranking. Now, four down, four more to go, to catch up with another recent Indian record!

Posted by Rahulbose on (April 1, 2012, 15:05 GMT)

I hope they pick Finn, he looks a good bowler. Would love to see him bowl and see how he goes in sub-continent conditions.

Posted by stormy16 on (April 1, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

Finn for Broad, Bresnan for Samit. The option of playing Bopara as a batter for Patel should not be an option in my opinion. It basically a do or die game for Eng, if they dont win, the lose the series and #1 ranking and to win the game you have to give youself the best chance of getting 20 wickets. I also dont think the P.Sara wicket will be as hard to bat on so Eng need to back their 5+Prior +Bresnan and Swan to get enough on the board.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (April 1, 2012, 14:42 GMT)

@jb633. The glee at England's losses is directly proportional to the flood of bombast & hubris that followed India's implosion, as English writers & commentators abandoned their staple of whining about rank-turning SC pitches, dodgy bowling actions, Aussie tactics & ANY criticism of the team's swelling ranks of Saffers, & churned out obsequious praise for the English juggernaut that would rule cricket for the next generation. Some English regulars here became smug, conceited, and boastful, their jingoism rivaled only the unending tedium of the "Tendulkar is God" brigade. Sadly, this vocal minority cannot accept that "the colonies" now routinely dominate, & a couple of England wins bring out their Barmy-Army meets-Monty-Python caricatures. These Colonel Blimps of Cricinfo-comments generate goodwill as do soccer hooligans, and, to your discomfort, are now reaping what they sowed, & have earned every gloat. If SL triumph in Colombo, the gloating will become unbearable.

Posted by   on (April 1, 2012, 13:25 GMT)

annon we neve happy with 1-1 we want 2-0 ....england pls try to atleat a draw if you can......:D :)

Posted by Perera32 on (April 1, 2012, 12:06 GMT)

JG2704: No I've had this user name all the time. You're right about cricket being unpredictable, no one expected Bangladesh to go into the Asia cup final. One of the reason why I said the ENG wouldn't do well is because the Batsmen are'nt use to the Heat and Humidity in Asia, and not because England are a bad team. On paper England are a better team than Sri lanka, but trust me the Temperature may say it's only 30 degrees in Sri lanka but it feels as if it is about 45 degrees. The reason why the English Batsmen gave there wicket away or lost concentration was because they couldn't compile a proper innings in these conditions out there. Hopefully they get use to the heat by next Tuesday and give a better fight in the next test match.

Posted by Chetan007 on (April 1, 2012, 11:32 GMT)

Monty deserve a place in England line up. Just 1 bad match and the people want him out. That's pathetic. Why they didn't throw others out after so many matches. Why Strauss is in team?, Why KP?, Why Swann?. Now KP and Swann are in form. Monty can be a better spinner than Swann if given a good run with the team. He is also a human. He needs support with the team same as Swann. As a player he is no difference from other. No one should be dropped of the team with 1 or 2 bad performances. Swann was not at his best in UAE. Same for KP. I think playing Finn is a good option. He will be good option because of his pace. Ya bring in Bopara in place of Patel.

Posted by   on (April 1, 2012, 11:11 GMT)

My team: Strauss, Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Prior, Bresnan, Swann, Anderson, Panesar, Finn - the tail may be a bit long, which might concentrate the batsmens' minds and get them to do their job for a change.

The first test showed we need five test quality bowlers in these conditions - if we could have cleared up the Sri Lankan tail quickly in both innings England would be one up - even with the largely abysmal batting and without Broad's runs.

Posted by   on (April 1, 2012, 9:00 GMT)

The form Finn is in he should walk into the team in all formats. This is often the trouble with selection for most, if not all nations-FORM! Finn should play regardless of Broad's fitness.

Posted by JG2704 on (April 1, 2012, 7:26 GMT)

@Nutcutlet on (March 31 2012, 16:51 PM GMT) You may be right re Monty , however many of the wickets from spinners have been those that go straight on at a pace. Not a great performance wickets wise but if you're not taking wickets the next best thing is drying up the runs. Also sometimes the wickets come from the inns stagnating and sometimes it's not the bowler who is drying up the runs who gets the wickets. You are right that we have to risk going for the win against a safety 1st approach which let's face it hasn't worked anyway. As I said on another thread I'm really surprised that none of the Sky pundits inc the ex bowlers have even suggested once about the idea of playing 5 bowlers

Posted by JG2704 on (April 1, 2012, 7:26 GMT)

@Dharmatma KI Adalat on (April 01 2012, 06:55 AM GMT) You are joking right? Monty might not have taken wickets last game but had taken most wickets in the UAE series and all of 2011 unlike the player you mentioned who went off the boil last year.

Posted by JG2704 on (April 1, 2012, 7:25 GMT)

@Dravid_Gravitas on (March 31 2012, 22:17 PM GMT) To be honest , I'm fed up of people worrying about players batting. We've been using the 6 man (+ Prior) batting line up throughout UAE/SL and where's it got us? Bres for Broad and Finn for a batsman. Our best way of trying to win is to bowl out sides cheaper rather than score more runs IMO if you get my drift.

Posted by JG2704 on (April 1, 2012, 7:25 GMT)

@Perera32 I remember responding to someone called Khan on this (was this you under a different user name?) To be honest Engs batsmen have been absolutely woeful but then so many comms were saying Eng couldn't bowl on these pitches and the bowlers have put us into positions where if the batsmen had done their job we would definitely have won one of the matches and possibly 3 of the 4 matches we lost. Eng's batsmen had done well throughout the English summer and in Australia which had usually been a horror show for us and on previous tours to SC we may have lost but I think only once in the last 6 combined tours had we lost by more than 1 test. Who, at this stage last year would have predicted Ind - and this is not a dig - losing 8 away tests in a row - based on form and previous results? Sometimes cricket is unpredictable

Posted by Sinhaya on (April 1, 2012, 7:02 GMT)

@Philip_Gnana, what nonsense are you talking. Sri Lanka has only lost 3 tests at the P Sara Stadium. They have won 7 tests at the P Sara. Check your facts before posting comments. There were no poor results in previous tours. Looks like you have totally forgotten how we won a test match in South Africa just over 3 months ago and created history.

Posted by   on (April 1, 2012, 6:55 GMT)

where the hell is ahmad shehzad , make monty sit out call shehzad , if england wants to win monty only bowls maidens and give ample time to the batsmen to settle, making a draw if not a win possible for the opposition.

Posted by CD23 on (April 1, 2012, 6:28 GMT)

Patel out for Ravi Bopara, Broad out for Steven Finn, Bresnan out for Monty Panesar. If you want to drop any batsman drop Strauss not KP. Kp was looking good until he got a good ball in the second innings and proved himself in the ODI's against pakistan whereas STraus has done nought. My point of view anyway.

Posted by annon on (April 1, 2012, 5:20 GMT)

yes; sleeping seniors of srianka like sanga & dilshan (even mahela- who can now relax after his top 180 at Galle) could be tricked by the english pacies, with the spin of Swann. A second specialized spinner may not be needed. Sri lanka will surely go for the SLC favourite players, without a match plan- especially after the win. They will be happy with a 1-1 result, expecting a couple of invitations to uk.

Posted by sejani_12 on (April 1, 2012, 3:54 GMT)

my team is the same as binojpeter's.this should be the winning combination.

Posted by RandyOZ on (April 1, 2012, 3:28 GMT)

Unfortunately for Finn he has been overshadowed by Philander, Cummins and Pattinson, but hopefully he can come good and lead the English attack. That will finally put to bed all these comments about Broad actually being any good.

Posted by jb633 on (April 1, 2012, 0:38 GMT)

@Perera32- yeah yeah so you know everything about cricket. The gloating commets really are wearing thin. People seem to have a greater fixation with Eng being no1 than their own fans do.

Posted by jb633 on (April 1, 2012, 0:35 GMT)

I think Finn should come in for Broady and Ravi in for Strauss. I know it sounds drastic but I really would love to see KP open in the sub continent and be given the license to get after the bowing early, not let the spinners settle. I know this will never happen because Strauss is a good captain but I would love to see us change it up. Hit the opposition with something they will not expect and put the onus back on to them. I am a big believer in "horses for courses" and think in these conditions we need an aggresive player up top.

Posted by Philip_Gnana on (March 31, 2012, 22:41 GMT)

Sri Lanka does not have a very good record at the Oval. Their percentage of defeats is greater and visiting teams have a better chance here. The winning of the toss has not been a great factor here and chasing totals have not been a big threat either. The Oval has been the best wicket in the world giving all types of bowlers and the batsmen a good chance.Results a plenty. From a confidence point of view, SL are coming in with a big win under their belt after poor results in their previous tours. Having Mahela back is a great bonus and this is where the match will be decided. The performance of the captains both with bat and mind. The one who can keep the coolest head and make the vital decisions will have the advantage. This in my opinion gives Mahela the edge over Andrew. Philip Gnana, Surrey

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (March 31, 2012, 22:17 GMT)

Finn will be a very good replacement for Broad as a bowler. What about Finn's batting. I think this is not a like for like replacement on the whole.

Posted by   on (March 31, 2012, 20:48 GMT)

Finn will b a good addition. he performed so well against Pakistani team.

Posted by Perera32 on (March 31, 2012, 20:37 GMT)

@JG2704: Before the Pakistan Tour in the UAE, I said England would have absoloutley no chance in the subcontinent. You said that I had no knowledge in cricket at all, and went on about how great England are. Well since then England have lost 4-0. England are'nt as great as you thought, were they?

Posted by   on (March 31, 2012, 20:34 GMT)

Finn is the correct choice to replace Finn. On recent form he deserves to be in the team ahead of Bresnan. Yes, he may not as much of a batting option like Bresnan but to me that is a near irrelevancy. England need to choose the bowlers they think will get them the 20 wickets. The batsmen are in the side to get the runs. Runs down from the lower order should be a bonus - not relied upon.

Posted by binojpeter on (March 31, 2012, 19:58 GMT)

I think England team for next test should be Strauss, Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Bopara, Prior, Bresnan, Swann, Anderson, Finn.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (March 31, 2012, 16:51 GMT)

Although Colombo will take some spin, it decidedly isn't Galle. It is also a venue where batsmen can expect to do well. This is England's last chance to get some matters sorted out and go for a win: a draw will not be a face-saver when it hands the series to SL. It will, however, be hot & humid. This is the time to set the stall out, be aggressive in selection, and go with five bowlers. Finn should get the new ball with Jimmy & Bres picked as the third seamer as he is able to reverse the old ball. Both spinners should play, but I wish Monty would judge the pace of the wicket right! He was tight but unthreatening in Galle because he didn't give it much air & the time for the ball to grip on the pitch - a spinner should be able to work out what is the right pace to bowl for the wicket after a couple of overs, but Monty seems to bowl the same wherever he's playing. It's last chance saloon for Strauss & KP to prove they can play on these wickets. Let's hope England performs at last!

Posted by mikey76 on (March 31, 2012, 16:21 GMT)

@ghj894. Drop Anderson?? He just took a five wicket haul in the test match and passed 250 wickets. He is the second best pace bowler in the world. I don't think Andy Flower will take your advice on that one mate.

Posted by AdrianVanDenStael on (March 31, 2012, 15:44 GMT)

@JG2704: I agree with you. If a team has to win a match it needs to go in trying to take twenty wickets, so needs to think primarily about how to strengthen its bowling

Posted by Naresh28 on (March 31, 2012, 14:42 GMT)

SA should be NO1. England made it the top after a pathetic tour by Indians. Bowling wise SA has the best attack with Philander securing a spot in the 11. India will never be No1 unless they can unearth a good pace bowler - with stamina.

Posted by drnaveed on (March 31, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

just bring in finn and bresnan for broad and patel ,and England will be back on road to success.

Posted by drnaveed on (March 31, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

just bring in finn and bresnan for broad and patel ,and England will be back on road to success.

Posted by drnaveed on (March 31, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

just bring in finn and bresnan for broad and patel ,and England will be back on road to success.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 31, 2012, 13:25 GMT)

@AdrianVanDenStael on (March 31 2012, 12:49 PM GMT) I just think you have to weigh up which is more likely - the extra batsman scoring runs or the extra bowler taking wickets. We have had a shortened tail throughout the UAE and SL tours and where has it got us? I believe only once (in 8 inns-24 combined) has a batsman playing at either 4 , 5 or 6 scored above 50 in tests in 2012. We've tried the "batting depth" approach and where has it got us this year?Yes on paper that would lengthen the tail but paper and reality seem to be 2 different things and what it shortens the tail by I believe it increases the bowling by and some.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 31, 2012, 13:17 GMT)

@landl47 on (March 31 2012, 13:02 PM GMT) Obviously if the next ground takes no spin - fair enough , but surely if our batsmen are allowed 6+ bad matches Monty should be allowed one. It's the 1st time on the tour he's been completely outbowled by Swann

Posted by nathangonmad on (March 31, 2012, 13:03 GMT)

I hope the selectors show some confidence and make 2 changes. Ravi for Sammit and Braod for Finn.

Posted by landl47 on (March 31, 2012, 13:02 GMT)

Finn will get his chance. By reputation the Columbo wicket doesn't take as much spin as Galle, so I'm guessing England might drop Panesar, who didn't have a good game in Galle, and bring in Bresnan and Finn for Panesar and Broad. That strengthens the batting and fielding and with Swann bowling well in the second innings in Galle and Patel to back him up, the spin bowling is good enough.

Posted by loki897 on (March 31, 2012, 12:58 GMT)

I seriously think Steven Finn should play. He is England's best seamer in Asia after destroying Pakistan nearly causing collapses in India which shows he is learning all the time. He has a great future and England need to learn how to drop seniors such as Andreson, Bresnan or any for promising youngster such as Finn. I am an Indian supporter though but thats my advice. I think Samit Patel needs some serious considering because he an interesting case.

Posted by loki897 on (March 31, 2012, 12:51 GMT)

Yeah SA! Lets be World No.1! I am Indian supporter. Looking forward to IPL. Laugh if England doesn't manage to draw a test match in Asia this year after destroying India but not Rahul Dravid.

Posted by AdrianVanDenStael on (March 31, 2012, 12:49 GMT)

"However, it may not be quite so simple as a straight swap of Finn for Broad. That one change would give England a tail of Finn, James Anderson and Monty Panesar which could leave Andy Flower uneasy." Well in that case, my preferred option of bringing in Finn and Bresnan for Broad and Patel would probably give Andy Flower a fit. But in a test England have to win I still think it's the best option (if a bit tough on Samit Patel).

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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