In the 37th over of India's innings, Steven Finn landed too close to the stumps, and his knee knocked the bail off. It being called no-ball was expected, but normally when Finn does that it sends panic waves around. The Finn Ball was a major part of his losing form when trying to sort the issue out. So low was he on confidence, he had infamously become "un-selectable" on England's last tour to Australia. So, it was such a relief this time that, for a change, Finn could talk about it with a bit of humour. He had, after all, taken five wickets by then, to skittle India out at the same ground where he left the Ashes tour midway. It was in fact almost a year to the day that Finn was at his lowest when he couldn't land the ball on the pitch in the Gabba nets.
"Not very often," Finn said, when asked how often he bowls such no-balls these days. "It's the first time it has happened in around nine months. I think I did it once in the English season and before that not for a while either. It's once in a blue moon. Unfortunately it happened today. I was charging in too hard, thinking of wickets [more] than processes. It happens every now and again but it didn't cost us. Not bothered about it, slight sore knee but nothing too bad."
Finn doesn't want to talk about the past and his struggles as much as he wants to look ahead to the future, but it is all the more significant that his first five-for has come in the same city where he was at his lowest. "I always thought in the back of my mind that it [the comeback] was possible," Finn said. "But you never know, do you? But to come here and be in the same hotels and get over those hurdles has been good fun and I am enjoying it. I am enjoying my time in Australia. To take wickets today is very good and to win a game is very good as well, so I am very happy where I am at."
It was largely expected that James Anderson would make his comeback in this ODI at the expense of Finn. Then Chris Jordan fell ill. You can't be sure if that made England's selection easier, or if Finn almost didn't play this ODI, but you can be sure that Finn is too good a bowler to not be a major force. When he gets it right, Finn extracts more bounce from pitches than most of the bowlers. And when you give him a rock-hard pitch like the one at the Gabba for this game, he can be a tough proposition to face.
"The wicket bounced a lot, especially from this [Vulture Street] end," Finn said. "You could bowl a fullish length, and it was coming through at waist height, which is uncomfortable for anyone. That was partly the way we bowled and partly the wicket. But we used that to our advantage, and as a bowling unit we stuck to our guns very well, and made the Indian batsmen have to come to us, which is what we want to be doing."
Finn was the last of the quicks introduced. By that time, Ajinkya Rahane and Ambati Rayudu had just about started to look comfortable. They had had a bit of pressure relieved when they targeted Stuart Broad, who wasn't at his best. The partnership had reached 44 by the time Finn was asked to bowl. During the last home summer, England had let India off the hook in the Cardiff ODI. Now they needed someone to strike before India ran away again. Finn did so, taking out Rahane, Virat Kohli and Ambati Rayudu in the space of 16 balls. All three struggled to cope with his bounce.
And when India had another partnership going, taking them to 5 for 137 from 5 for 67, it was Finn that England turned to again. And again Finn provided them the timely wickets, MS Dhoni's with a bouncer and Akshar Patel's with a quick straight ball angling into the stumps from round the wicket.
"It's just nice to help England win a game of cricket," Finn said, when told it was nice to see him smiling again. "A lot has happened in last 12 months, and it's probably pretty much to the day where I went home from that tour of Australia. That corner has been turned. I felt like I turned it a while ago. All that stuff is in the past now, and I am just really looking forward. To take five wickets today was very pleasing for me after the work I have put in. I don't want to look back now, I just want to look forward."
Finn said he was close to his best. "I think I am getting there," he said. "There might be another couple of miles an hour to come in the tank, and that will come with confidence and getting into my stride as the tour goes on. It's a good starting block, and I am very happy with where I am at the moment."
England's ODI side has been much maligned over the last couple of years, and with a reason. However, if Finn can stay at his best, along with Anderson, Broad, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali, they can be close to the best attack in the World Cup that will be played in these conditions next month. Finn doesn't want to get that far ahead of himself, but it is indeed good to see him smiling again.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo