Australia v England, 2nd T20, Melbourne January 14, 2011

Melbourne rises to homeboy Finch

27

Melbourne loves a hometown hero. When Dean Jones and Bill Lawry were paraded around the ground during the fourth Test they were cheered to the rafters and all Shane Warne has to do is step foot on the turf to be hailed by the locals. Aaron Finch has a long way to go to match any of them, and may never play Test cricket, but for one night he gave the suffering Australia supporters something to cheer in front of his fellow Victorians.

Finch's 53 off 33 balls, which guided Australia to a competitive 7 for 147 after they'd stalled against England's spinners, will be his last international innings of the summer. He isn't part of the one-day plans, or even in the World Cup 30 which will be trimmed next week, so he'll have to content himself with a return to state cricket where he can slot straight back into the Big Bash. "One thing Melbourne is great at is supporting cricket and they came out after the ordinary weather," he said. "It was a real buzz in front of the home crowd."

In a sense it's not surprising Finch isn't around the 50-over set up yet with a career one-day average of 33.95 and no hundreds in 27 matches. His domestic Twenty20 record is superior with a strike-rate in excess of 130. He is a modern cricketer in many ways. His Twenty20 skills had been recognised by others before his country. He was part of the Rajasthan Royals squad at the 2010 IPL and this year has been bought for US$300,000 by Delhi Daredevils.

Like many young sportsmen he's also on Twitter, but an hour after the match finished he hadn't got round to reflecting on his effort. His most recent message read: "New shoes must be complimented with new socks! Haha." But there is a serious, mature, side to his cricket and he showed it by the way he rebuilt Australia's innings. When Graeme Swann and Michael Yardy reduced them 5 for 80 a sixth consecutive Twenty20 defeat was on the cards.

Then Finch and Steve Smith, another of Australia's hopes for a better future, produced a sensible stand of 61 in seven overs. Finch dominated with his partner contributing just 13 from his 18 deliveries. "We just tried to take the innings as deep as we could and leave our run late," he said. "We were losing wickets consistently up the top so we couldn't afford to be seven or eight down with four or five overs to go. We thought we'd knock it around and aimed for 155, we came up a bit short but it was enough."

A key factor in the final outcome was Australia's sixes tally which stood at five compared to England's one and that came in the final over when Chris Woakes, another fearless youngster, launched Brett Lee into the Great Southern Stand. Finch used his local knowledge and didn't try to clear the large square boundaries, instead aiming straight or towards midwicket.

"This ground is suited to orthodox cricket shots, you've got short straight boundaries and wider square so it encourages you to play with good technique and hit through the line with good cricket shots," he said. "You get value for shots here when you play that way."

Paul Collingwood said he still backed his team to chase down the total after their eight-match unbeaten run, but admitted Finch's innings had given Australia a vital lift. "He struck it very well tonight. He hits a long ball and he hits it in good areas, he's a dangerous player. It was a good innings. It kind of shifted the momentum a little bit."

"We were quite happy at half-time with chasing down a score like that but we were 10 percent or 20 per cent off our batting," he added. "There were quite a lot of dot balls from over six to 16 and then obviously we couldn't get the boundaries and started holing out after that."

Given the way Australia - both the team and the country - has clung to every morsel of success this season, such as Usman Khawaja's 'double' of 37 and 21 on Test debut, it was slightly surprising this wasn't hailed a glorious rebirth, but Cameron White knew it was just a small, albeit welcome, step in the right direction ahead of the one-day series.

"It's important, it beats losing for sure," he said. "It's a different format to the Tests and it's different to the one-dayers. You might be able to take something forward, but it's a new competition starting Sunday."

Collingwood, though, was confident the result wouldn't mean much come the opening ODI at the same ground on Monday when he hands back the captaincy to Andrew Strauss. "I don't think it's hurt our momentum too much," he said. "It's obviously disappointing to lose a game but we still did some good stuff tonight."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Marcio on January 15, 2011, 9:45 GMT

    @5wombats, people said the same thing about Watson for years: What was the famous comment which appeared here on cricinfo about 2 years ago by a cynic like you. Shane "Looks like Tarzan plays like Jane" Watson". Steve Smith is a very talented player who will come good in the end. His fielding won AUS the game last night. By the way, you asked me which reality I was talking about when I said AUS would win last night? Don't expect I'll be getting any response now that I was proven right yet again. So far I've gotten 5/6 predictions right this summer. That's a reasonably decent take on reality. You expected the T20s and 1-dayers to go the same way as the tests. You were wrong. I was right.

  • 5wombats on January 15, 2011, 8:49 GMT

    @jonesy2; "again watson and johnson proved that they are the two most valuable and best cricketers in the world". LOL. What do you mean "AGAIN"? - By my reckoning they haven't done anything all summer - but I don't suppose you'll reply to this post, because you never reply to anyone. @popcorn - I finally agree with you about something - Smith ? what do people see in this guy?

  • Something_Witty on January 15, 2011, 7:46 GMT

    *Agrees with ozbrother* 25 char.

  • ozbrother on January 15, 2011, 5:07 GMT

    I'm getting a little sick of hearing how the entire country was carried away by the 'success' of Khawaja in the Sydney test. Just because a couple of two-bit journo's threw out a couple of meaningless headlines when he scored 37 in the first dig doesn't mean the rest of the country thought he was our saviour. The crowd at the ground, and the rest of the cricketing public were happy to see a local debutant, from a non-traditional background, not fail. He was well supported and he did ok. To think that the team and nation "clung on to the morsel of his 'success' " is complete rubbish. We knew we were getting hammered, we knew that his efforts may indicate a promising future for him, but we all know that there is a hell of a lot of work to do for Usman, and the team, ahead. We know you lot enjoy mocking our current struggles, but try to win with a little humility, please. We've seen England cling to past successes that have lasted generations.

  • kazam_razaq on January 15, 2011, 4:10 GMT

    yes,WHITE should be the new AUSSIE captain.he is so calm & quiet during crunch situations in both matches.one thing more AUSSIES need one more player in their ranks AIDEN BLIZZARD.he looked to be a very good player in champions league T20.he should replace STEVE SMITH or STEVE O'KEEFE

  • popcorn on January 15, 2011, 3:10 GMT

    Great showing by Aaron Finch. not sio sure Steve Smith is the answer to Australia's future.Very ordinary performances this season - in Tests and Twenty20.

  • Okakaboka on January 15, 2011, 0:16 GMT

    It is an absolute disgrace that Finch is not in the ODI Squad or even selected for the last test. If you remember, I said he was better than Khawaja.....AND HE IS....Just doesn't come from NSW. COME SELECTORS....Fix this travesty of justice....He is young and needs the top standard of competition to reach his full potential. Come on everyone...Does anyone really think that Clarke would produce results as remotely as good as Finch. Clarke is now batting with the same average as Peter Siddle! Paine was a class act last night...Outstanding....Million times better than Haddin. We would have lost last night with Haddin behind the stumps. Again Watson's bowling was spot on....so where is McDonald? These two would be brilliant together. Field placements were very astute...outstanding captaincy....COME ON....Replace that useless Clarke!!!

  • on January 15, 2011, 0:12 GMT

    Everyone was going crazy for finchy the whole game even when he wasn't doing anything. I have never heard so much support for the one player - truly a local hero.

  • sportsgirl123 on January 14, 2011, 23:20 GMT

    heyy guys...today in the match a song was playing when australia finished batting and they went for the break...anyone knows the song??? and please if you do tell me :)

  • bumsonseats on January 14, 2011, 22:25 GMT

    i think the guys who have failed to score for englang are the ones who have just arrived and the captain whos form is at the lowest ebb. i hope when it comes to the odi that hes not picked.

  • Marcio on January 15, 2011, 9:45 GMT

    @5wombats, people said the same thing about Watson for years: What was the famous comment which appeared here on cricinfo about 2 years ago by a cynic like you. Shane "Looks like Tarzan plays like Jane" Watson". Steve Smith is a very talented player who will come good in the end. His fielding won AUS the game last night. By the way, you asked me which reality I was talking about when I said AUS would win last night? Don't expect I'll be getting any response now that I was proven right yet again. So far I've gotten 5/6 predictions right this summer. That's a reasonably decent take on reality. You expected the T20s and 1-dayers to go the same way as the tests. You were wrong. I was right.

  • 5wombats on January 15, 2011, 8:49 GMT

    @jonesy2; "again watson and johnson proved that they are the two most valuable and best cricketers in the world". LOL. What do you mean "AGAIN"? - By my reckoning they haven't done anything all summer - but I don't suppose you'll reply to this post, because you never reply to anyone. @popcorn - I finally agree with you about something - Smith ? what do people see in this guy?

  • Something_Witty on January 15, 2011, 7:46 GMT

    *Agrees with ozbrother* 25 char.

  • ozbrother on January 15, 2011, 5:07 GMT

    I'm getting a little sick of hearing how the entire country was carried away by the 'success' of Khawaja in the Sydney test. Just because a couple of two-bit journo's threw out a couple of meaningless headlines when he scored 37 in the first dig doesn't mean the rest of the country thought he was our saviour. The crowd at the ground, and the rest of the cricketing public were happy to see a local debutant, from a non-traditional background, not fail. He was well supported and he did ok. To think that the team and nation "clung on to the morsel of his 'success' " is complete rubbish. We knew we were getting hammered, we knew that his efforts may indicate a promising future for him, but we all know that there is a hell of a lot of work to do for Usman, and the team, ahead. We know you lot enjoy mocking our current struggles, but try to win with a little humility, please. We've seen England cling to past successes that have lasted generations.

  • kazam_razaq on January 15, 2011, 4:10 GMT

    yes,WHITE should be the new AUSSIE captain.he is so calm & quiet during crunch situations in both matches.one thing more AUSSIES need one more player in their ranks AIDEN BLIZZARD.he looked to be a very good player in champions league T20.he should replace STEVE SMITH or STEVE O'KEEFE

  • popcorn on January 15, 2011, 3:10 GMT

    Great showing by Aaron Finch. not sio sure Steve Smith is the answer to Australia's future.Very ordinary performances this season - in Tests and Twenty20.

  • Okakaboka on January 15, 2011, 0:16 GMT

    It is an absolute disgrace that Finch is not in the ODI Squad or even selected for the last test. If you remember, I said he was better than Khawaja.....AND HE IS....Just doesn't come from NSW. COME SELECTORS....Fix this travesty of justice....He is young and needs the top standard of competition to reach his full potential. Come on everyone...Does anyone really think that Clarke would produce results as remotely as good as Finch. Clarke is now batting with the same average as Peter Siddle! Paine was a class act last night...Outstanding....Million times better than Haddin. We would have lost last night with Haddin behind the stumps. Again Watson's bowling was spot on....so where is McDonald? These two would be brilliant together. Field placements were very astute...outstanding captaincy....COME ON....Replace that useless Clarke!!!

  • on January 15, 2011, 0:12 GMT

    Everyone was going crazy for finchy the whole game even when he wasn't doing anything. I have never heard so much support for the one player - truly a local hero.

  • sportsgirl123 on January 14, 2011, 23:20 GMT

    heyy guys...today in the match a song was playing when australia finished batting and they went for the break...anyone knows the song??? and please if you do tell me :)

  • bumsonseats on January 14, 2011, 22:25 GMT

    i think the guys who have failed to score for englang are the ones who have just arrived and the captain whos form is at the lowest ebb. i hope when it comes to the odi that hes not picked.

  • Silatwarrior on January 14, 2011, 22:20 GMT

    Well done Australia but Jonesy2 don't get carried away mate it was one game of T20 cricket!

  • on January 14, 2011, 20:45 GMT

    would love to see australia fighting back in the one day series.

  • Fareen on January 14, 2011, 20:28 GMT

    I've no doubts about Finch' talent...but its too early to say that either Finch and Woakes are the future.And it was just t-20's . And I also think White handled the Australian team very well,giving T.Paine and Finch the chance to bat early.He should be the captain of Australia after Punter,not Clarke.

  • cric_is_life on January 14, 2011, 20:03 GMT

    good game, enjoyed it its always great to see some new talent well done ausies

  • grug76 on January 14, 2011, 19:31 GMT

    As someone who has grown up and watched cricket from the 80s through to today, I have always enjoyed Test cricket as the pinnacle of the sport - while the World Cups have been fun at times, ODIs simply don't do much for me.... However I now have to admit that T20 is the superior form of the game. All those people who bemoan the lack of skill etc are kidding themselves, there is simply a different set of skills on display and they make for far more entertaining games in a nice short package that is far more suited to the way we live our lives in this day and age. Face it... T20 is the future of cricket

  • landl47 on January 14, 2011, 18:40 GMT

    Another exciting game, although for me personally seeing batters out there slogging away at everything and bowlers trying to contain rather than get wickets is not why I love cricket. Well done, Australia; I thought England would chase down 147, but the bowling and fielding was good. Some nice catches taken by the Aussie fielders. Finch looks promising, but it's maybe a sign of the times that his T20 average is 48, while his first-class average is only 34. Cam White failed again with the bat, but his captaincy in the field was excellent. A good game and a good win for the Aussies. That will give them heart going into the ODIs.

  • Aaaaaron on January 14, 2011, 18:26 GMT

    Good to see Aussie win atlast, hope they continues such trilling in ODI's. Hussey maybe not in touch, but he is valuable palyer for the team. Good one Aaron.

  • Marcio on January 14, 2011, 18:00 GMT

    Great game. I expected AUS to win this one. Miracle last ball wins almost always lead to losses in the next game (for Eng in this case). Eng were never really going to win after they fell 20 runs rums behind balls required, and did well to get close in the end. This was by far the best bowling/fielding from AUS all summer. Won them the game (poor fielding lost them the previous game). 1-1 a fair result from two evenly matched teams. AUS has too many quality players to be dominated by this Eng team, who lack genuine bowling penetration (despite good batting depth).

  • Something_Witty on January 14, 2011, 17:42 GMT

    I think a word for Tim Paine is needed. He kept absolutely brilliantly (as he always does), and his little cameo of 21 from 12 was extremely valuable. Wonder what those people who wanted Haddin in the side are saying now?

  • jonesy2 on January 14, 2011, 16:37 GMT

    brilliant from finch and again watson and johnson proved that they are the two most valuable and best cricketers in the world. loved brett lee in the team his presence alone just creates such success. oh and andrew strauss is playing one dayers? hahaha oh this SHOULD be an easy series win for the aussie boys.

  • StarveTheLizard on January 14, 2011, 16:18 GMT

    Yet another exciting game. The result could have gone either way right up to last ball of the last over of the match!

  • SamRoy on January 14, 2011, 16:11 GMT

    The last 2 ashes series in Australia('06 and '10) have been over-hyped but didn't deliver (because of one sided matches). It is refreshing to see the much maligned 20 over cricket (even though I am a test cricket fan) providing the most exciting matches played in Australia. Just proves that even though the red ball brings balance in the game and is the true test of a cricketer's patience and ability, it isn't always the most exciting form of the game. The slightly less hyped India vs SA series did deliver in the last two tests (barring final day of the 3rd test).

  • azzaman333 on January 14, 2011, 16:08 GMT

    I wouldn't drop Hussey altogether, rather play him as a bowling allrounder. His spin bowling has been extremely valuable, and when we're playing Lee and Tait (which I don't like but that's for another time) we need someone who bowls tight and pushes through the overs the way he does. Plus he's a great fielder, and has been one of the best T20 players in the country.

  • Micgyver on January 14, 2011, 15:35 GMT

    Good onya Finch,he should be a fine player for years to come in T20 and 1 dayers

  • on January 14, 2011, 14:38 GMT

    At last Austra lia managed to win a T20 game,one sided matches use to be boring affair In the seven one day series hope Australia will manage to win atleast two matches.

  • Aussasinator on January 14, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    Now will the media start talking about a great Australian cricketing recovery? I'm surpised it hasnt already. T20 is such a game anyway.

  • Something_Witty on January 14, 2011, 14:26 GMT

    Finch has looked good at domestic level for quite some time now. He could easily play test cricket for Aus. IMO, Travis Birt deserves David Hussey's spot in the side. Hussey looks desperately out of touch at the moment, and Birt has been incredibly good at domestic t20 level for a while now.

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  • Something_Witty on January 14, 2011, 14:26 GMT

    Finch has looked good at domestic level for quite some time now. He could easily play test cricket for Aus. IMO, Travis Birt deserves David Hussey's spot in the side. Hussey looks desperately out of touch at the moment, and Birt has been incredibly good at domestic t20 level for a while now.

  • Aussasinator on January 14, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    Now will the media start talking about a great Australian cricketing recovery? I'm surpised it hasnt already. T20 is such a game anyway.

  • on January 14, 2011, 14:38 GMT

    At last Austra lia managed to win a T20 game,one sided matches use to be boring affair In the seven one day series hope Australia will manage to win atleast two matches.

  • Micgyver on January 14, 2011, 15:35 GMT

    Good onya Finch,he should be a fine player for years to come in T20 and 1 dayers

  • azzaman333 on January 14, 2011, 16:08 GMT

    I wouldn't drop Hussey altogether, rather play him as a bowling allrounder. His spin bowling has been extremely valuable, and when we're playing Lee and Tait (which I don't like but that's for another time) we need someone who bowls tight and pushes through the overs the way he does. Plus he's a great fielder, and has been one of the best T20 players in the country.

  • SamRoy on January 14, 2011, 16:11 GMT

    The last 2 ashes series in Australia('06 and '10) have been over-hyped but didn't deliver (because of one sided matches). It is refreshing to see the much maligned 20 over cricket (even though I am a test cricket fan) providing the most exciting matches played in Australia. Just proves that even though the red ball brings balance in the game and is the true test of a cricketer's patience and ability, it isn't always the most exciting form of the game. The slightly less hyped India vs SA series did deliver in the last two tests (barring final day of the 3rd test).

  • StarveTheLizard on January 14, 2011, 16:18 GMT

    Yet another exciting game. The result could have gone either way right up to last ball of the last over of the match!

  • jonesy2 on January 14, 2011, 16:37 GMT

    brilliant from finch and again watson and johnson proved that they are the two most valuable and best cricketers in the world. loved brett lee in the team his presence alone just creates such success. oh and andrew strauss is playing one dayers? hahaha oh this SHOULD be an easy series win for the aussie boys.

  • Something_Witty on January 14, 2011, 17:42 GMT

    I think a word for Tim Paine is needed. He kept absolutely brilliantly (as he always does), and his little cameo of 21 from 12 was extremely valuable. Wonder what those people who wanted Haddin in the side are saying now?

  • Marcio on January 14, 2011, 18:00 GMT

    Great game. I expected AUS to win this one. Miracle last ball wins almost always lead to losses in the next game (for Eng in this case). Eng were never really going to win after they fell 20 runs rums behind balls required, and did well to get close in the end. This was by far the best bowling/fielding from AUS all summer. Won them the game (poor fielding lost them the previous game). 1-1 a fair result from two evenly matched teams. AUS has too many quality players to be dominated by this Eng team, who lack genuine bowling penetration (despite good batting depth).