Australia v England, 1st Test, Brisbane, 3rd day November 27, 2010

We're prepared for a dogfight, insists Finn


Regardless of the toil that preceded his rewards, Steven Finn marked his first Ashes Test by claiming a career-best 6 for 125, which - as a 21-year-old with just eight months of international experience to his name - is no mean feat whatsoever. In so doing he emulated Bill Voce and John Snow as the only other Englishmen to collect such a haul at the Gabba, but afterwards he remained reassuringly downbeat about his achievement.

As a man who models himself on Glenn McGrath and who has, in Angus Fraser, the perfect role-model for parsimonious seam bowling, Finn was well aware that his economy rate of 3.71 was England's most expensive of the day, and at times during the 307-run stand between Brad Haddin and Michael Hussey he was powerless to restrict the run-flow. Nevertheless, having finally persuaded Hussey to hook to square leg for 195, he ran through the tail with an effectiveness that augurs well for future challenges, as Australia lost their last five wickets for 31 runs.

"I picked up the wickets but I was the least consistent bowler and I'm aware of that," he said. "Jimmy and Broady and Swanny at times bowled fantastically well, and when we work together as a unit that's when we get our wickets. These wickets are for the unit, but personally, there are still a lot of areas I need to improve on and I'm well aware of that. I want to go for less runs, take more wickets and I've got a lot of work to do."

England's day could well have gone a whole lot better, however, had Anderson been rewarded for a fine new-ball spell, in which Hussey survived two lbw appeals on 82 and 85, the first of which was overturned by the Umpire Decision Review System, before the second was left hanging as a plain not-out, after England had unsuccessfully used up their own appeals on day two.

Finn admitted that the situation had been frustrating, especially after believing they had made such a key breakthrough in the third over of the day. But, he added, they had refused to let it derail them, despite how it might have appeared as they ended up going wicketless throughout the first two sessions.

"It was a frustration that wasn't going to affect our performance," he said. "We realised we didn't have any reviews left and so there was nothing we could do about it. We had to keep putting the ball in the right areas. When you're in the huddle there and you think you've got the wicket, you're over the moon and then it gets taken away. But if it gets you emotional then it takes you away from what you want to do and how you want to play the game.

"It's easy to look at things in retrospect, but we have to push forward," he added. "We can only play what's put in front of us. If those decisions had gone our way we'd be in a different position but it's something we can't look at. Those two guys played really well, they didn't give us a chance, they rode their luck and survived the tough times, and that's what it takes to score hundreds like that in Test cricket. That's all we can look at."

Another distraction for England in the past three days has been the health of their coach, Andy Flower, who spent the day in hospital recovering from an operation to remove a cancerous melanoma from under his right eye. Finn, however, insisted that for the squad it had been business as usual, with Richard Halsall, the fielding coach, taking temporary charge.

"I wouldn't say it's an upset," he said. "Obviously we're concerned about Andy, but he's fine, he's pulling through, but it hasn't drawn anything away from what we've been doing as a team. We've got highly capable back-room staff who are filling in, and we've gelled together as a unit, and that helps us through times like this."

Despite the team's predicament, Finn was sure that the two sides were far more evenly matched than the state of the game would suggest. "I think Test cricket ebbs and flows," he said. "That's the nature of the game and to say there is a gulf in class is grossly wrong because I think we've played some good, hard cricket these past few days. Australia are on top at the moment but the nature of the way we've played our cricket over the past 18 months will stand us in good stead in that dogfight."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Craig on November 27, 2010, 22:10 GMT

    Its a dog eat dog world... and the Aussies have bigger teeth than you.

  • Steve on November 27, 2010, 21:50 GMT

    Reading comments on Cricinfo certainly gives vent to the idea that Finn didn't perform very well! He will almost certainly bowl better and take fewer scalps - but that is the nature of this wonderful sport. Jimmy Anderson is the evidence if any were needed! But give Finny a break guys? He's just a test match puppy and not the type to take his good fortune forgranted and I'm sure that he'll be made aware of all this too! The fact he bowled below par but still manged 6 wickets has to say something about the opposition? Hope that England rise to the challenge and don't disappoint (as many previous English sides have done).... it would be nice to see KP asert himself with a ton or two...... COME ON ENGLAND!

  • Billy on November 27, 2010, 20:00 GMT

    That was not a good bowling performance at all from Finn. For a person supposed to keep it McGrath-like tight, he bowled too short to Hussey and gifted a lot of runs. I think he was actually the worst of the English fast bowlers; it was Anderson who deserved the six wickets not Finn.

  • Steve on November 27, 2010, 19:05 GMT

    OK - The Aussies are currently well ahead in the game and must be odds on favourites to win this FIRST test... they deserve it too! It's not all over yet and the Aussies slow scoring rate is one plus for England. Sunday will be fascinating and if Warne was still playing I'd be crying in my cornflakes already! Apart from Siddles amazing (and possibly match winning) performance the Aussies don't have much of a bowling attack. (No teeth - as Jonesy might say!) England have talked the talk .... can they walk the walk? Hope so! A target of 200 ish with 2 sessions to go would make for fascinating cricket. We'll soon know.... COME ON ENGLAND!

  • ERROL on November 27, 2010, 18:22 GMT

    Aus had one big stand that caused that big score. If Eng. can make Aus. first innings total then it will be hard for Aus to save the game much less win it. Mind you I am WI fan and is not backing any of the two teams

  • Ryan on November 27, 2010, 17:51 GMT

    if you think finn was good think again, he was gifted 4 of his wickets, he took a brilliant catch and johnson missed a straight one! he was 2 lengths all day and that will certainly get punished on the flatter pitches at adelaide and melbourne....

  • Cameron on November 27, 2010, 17:23 GMT

    im hoping the Aussies finally have the killer blow theyve lacked over the last year, been frustrating to watch matches that should be a win turn into draws, even losses. Finn looks a gun for England, that caught and bowled was a classic for someone standing 6'8. Australia lose this, probably lose the ashes and bye bye Ponting!

  • Bryn on November 27, 2010, 17:17 GMT

    the most irrelevant 5 wicket haul ever. dogfight? whatever, australia have bigger teeth than england, always have, always will.

  • Michael on November 27, 2010, 13:39 GMT

    I thought Finn's caught and bowled was really classy,true elan. At least the lead is only 220 thanks to his wickets. England have to make 480 in their knock now.

  • Ryan on November 27, 2010, 12:53 GMT

    England will draw this game!! i would rather they win it...need two plays to make big hundreds and KP should be one because then it will save time too for second inning choking of the kangaroo..

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