Finn eyes crucial third morning
Steven Finn believes how England bowl with the new ball tomorrow morning could prove the difference between winning and losing the first Ashes Test.
Finn was central to England’s fightback on the second afternoon at the Gabba, removing Simon Katich - his maiden Ashes wicket - and Michael Clarke to help reduce Australia to 143 for five.
Mike Hussey responded with an unbeaten 81 which carried Australia to 220 for five by the close - 40 shy of England’s first-innings total - and, with the game so finely balanced, the morning session tomorrow threatens to be crucial.
England will be armed with the new ball, which was taken but not used as bad light and rain ended play 17 overs early today, and Finn hopes starting half an hour earlier to make up for lost time will aid him and his fellow fast bowlers.
“It’s pretty even at the moment,” he said. “We were in a similar position in our innings and a little bit of magic cut it short.
“That’s been the nature of the game so far - it has ebbed and flowed and I’m sure it will tomorrow.
“But we’re in a very good position in the game. It’s going to be nice to have the new ball at 9.30 in the morning when hopefully there will be a bit of cloud cover.
“We’re looking forward to it. The new ball is going to be important and how that goes may determine the rest of the game.”
Finn opened his Ashes account by taking a splendid low return catch to account for Katich, and had Clarke caught behind pulling en route to close-of-play figures of 2-61 from 15 overs.
James Anderson also struck twice and Stuart Broad bowled with great discipline and no little menace - yet no reward - on a day when Australia were restricted to a little more than 2.5 runs an over.
“We’re happy with our day’s work as a unit,” Finn added. “The other bowlers bowled fantastically well.
“The other two seamers have gone at two or just less than two an over. Swanny (Graeme Swann) bowled beautifully after his first few overs, got it in the right area and got a wicket, deservedly.
“You look at the guys’ economy rates, and I was by far the most expensive. Wickets give you confidence, but there are still areas in my bowling that I need to work on, having been hit for a few fours today.”
Finn’s leap of joy to mark his first wicket was in keeping with another thrilling day at the Gabba. The atmosphere was “perfect”, according to the 21-year-old.
“It was a fantastic moment. I was excited, as you could probably see by the celebration,” Finn added.
“Just to have 35,000 people in the ground every day has been great. It’s a pleasure to be playing in the Ashes, at a great stadium.
“It was great to get out there and bowl. Having heard the crowd all yesterday, screaming and shouting, to be able to play in front of them today was exhilarating.”
Finn and company were frustrated to be denied the new ball tonight after umpires Aleem Dar and Billy Doctrove took the players from the field despite the floodlights being in use.
However eager they are to make an impression in the morning, Finn warned against the perils of trying to force the issue on a slow surface which has offered only occasional assistance to the seamers.
“We can’t chase wickets over here,” he cautioned. “It’s important we put the ball in the right area and try and make the batsmen make the mistakes.”
Asked how he had adjusted to conditions in Brisbane, he replied: “To be honest it’s not that different; you put yourself in each situation that’s in front of you.
“This wicket is a bit slower than some people expected and it’s important to adjust your length accordingly. There’s been a big deal made about us being in Australia but we have to vary our length on each wicket in England anyway.”