Finn deflects bowling plaudits
Steven Finn was quick to share praise for his six wickets on Ashes debut with his fellow bowlers after a sterling display from England’s front-line quartet today.
Finn registered Test-best figures of 6-125 with four post-tea victims as the tourists finally dismissed Australia for 481 - a lead of 221 reduced by 19 without loss at stumps on day three in Brisbane.
Mike Hussey and Brad Haddin’s Gabba record 307-run alliance established the hosts’ advantage after they resumed on 220 for five, having added 77 the previous evening.
However, their apparent dominance tells little of James Anderson and Stuart Broad’s misfortune during outstanding spells this morning with the second new ball.
Finn and Graeme Swann backed those up as England somehow went wicketless before lunch. It was not until after tea that Swann removed Haddin for 136 and Finn took the last four wickets, including Hussey for a Test-best 195
Finn said: “I picked up the wickets but I was the least consistent bowler - and I’m aware of that.
“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.”
Finn, a 21-year-old playing in just his ninth Test, put England’s luckless toil during the first two sessions in perspective.
“I think that’s the nature of Test match cricket,” he added. “We were set up to deal with stuff like that, I think we kept our nerve well.
“I think the guys bowled fantastically well in the first hour and we didn’t quite get the rewards that we deserved for that but, they came later in the day.”
Hussey and Haddin regularly played and missed this morning and England’s agony grew when the former successfully reviewed Anderson’s leg before appeal but later the bowler could not reverse the roles because the tourists had no reviews remaining.
“It was frustration ... that wasn’t going to affect our performance,” Finn revealed. “We realised we didn’t have any reviews left, so there was nothing we could do about it.
“When you’re in the huddle there and you think you’ve go the wicket, you’re over the moon - and then it gets taken away. But it’s something you can’t let affect you.
“They played really well. They didn’t give us a chance, rode their luck and survived the tough times - and that’s what it takes to score hundreds like that in Test cricket.
“To concede a first-innings deficit is not good, but we feel we’ve done things properly. We kept the intensity up in the field, kept the pressure on.”
Finn, like Anderson and Broad, had bowled in excess of 30 overs by the time Australia were dismissed, while Swann had sent down 43.
Rather than using this as an excuse, the only member of the quartet to cost more than three an over targeted better next time.
“I think I’ve got a lot to improve on. Going at nearly for an over across the innings was disappointing,” he admitted.
Of the exacting workload, he said: “I’ve done it a couple of times for Middlesex, not in Test match cricket; the intensity is obviously a lot higher but I think my body’s adapting well and I’m enjoying it.
He added: “I thought we stuck to our task well and that will stand us in good stead over the next few weeks.”
Finn put his success against Australia’s tail - his last four wickets cost just 14 runs - down to having a method against every individual.
“We want to kill the tail, we want to take those wickets and we have plans for each batsman so if that means using the short ball then so be it,” he said.
With openers Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook set to resume in the morning, England still have hope of saving the game.
Finn knows how the tourists approach batting for as much of the last two days as possible is crucial.
He said: “We have to take each session by session and each ball by ball and can’t look too far ahead, saying ‘the guys have got to dig in and get big runs’.
“We’ve got to get in to start with so we’ll take each session by session, each hour by hour and see where that gets us.”
He added: “A couple of hard days of Test cricket aren’t going to knock it out of us; we’re still together as a unit and everyone’s really looking forward and looking to get us into a good position in this game.”