Finn hails magnificent Morgan
Steven Finn paid tribute to Eoin Morgan after his Middlesex team-mate's explosive innings helped England move 1-0 ahead in the five-match one-day international NatWest Series against Australia.
The 25-year-old provided some much-needed impetus at the end of the 50 overs after an opening partnership of 74 between Alastair Cook and Ian Bell, who made 40 and 41 respectively, and Jonathan Trott’s 54 built a solid platform.
Number five Morgan smashed five fours and fours maximums in his unbeaten 89 from 69 deliveries to propel England to 272 for five at Lord’s.
Despite half-centuries from Michael Clarke and David Warner, the tourists fell 15 runs short as England’s pace quartet of Finn, James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan picked up two wickets apiece.
“I thought we played some exceptional cricket. The batters started it off, getting through those tricky spells early on in the innings with Belly and Cooky was very good for the team,” Finn told ecb.co.uk.
“That allowed us to build a base for Eoin and Craig to do that hard hitting at the end. It was exceptional. Trotty started it off by steadying the ship and then Eoin was at his magical self.
“He played some exceptional shots, shots we have grown used to but they are never under appreciated.
“It’s nice that you are not on the receiving end as a bowler, but it’s good to have someone at number five who is that powerful and is able to do those sort of things at the end of an innings. Hopefully it will continue throughout the series.”
After losing the toss in overcast conditions, Cook and Bell demonstrated great patience against Australia’s well-documented pace bowlers in their 17-over spell at the crease, which was delayed three times by rain.
Finn, who took 2-47 off 10 overs, felt their opening stand was vital to England making a competitive score.
“It was very important, I thought they both played very well,” Finn said.
“They were both watchful, they both rode their luck which you need in those sorts of conditions. I thought we played very well and that partnership set us up for the rest of our innings and I thought we bowled well.”
With Morgan’s explosive innings raising England’s spirits at the half-way stage, it was down to England’s bowlers to finish the job.
That they did as Australia were restricted to 257 for nine after failing to build on a second-wicket partnership of 76 between Warner and George Bailey and then Clarke’s sixth-wicket stand of 57 with Matthew Wade.
Finn always believed the key to England winning was to claim wickets at regular intervals, especially with reverse swing entering the equation in the latter stages.
“We thought we had good runs on the board, the wicket obviously got a lot flatter the second part of our innings and through to their innings,” Finn said.
“They started quite well and had a couple of partnerships early on. But we always thought if we could take consistent wickets that they would be behind the eight ball and that proved right at the end.
“We were lucky the ball reverse swung, the ground dried very quickly and we could get it reverse swinging which helped. I thought we bowled well and kept the pressure on them all the time. That’s the benefit of playing five frontline bowlers.”
England have the opportunity to move 2-0 ahead in the rubber tomorrow at the Kia Oval, with Finn relishing the opportunity.
“I’m very much looking forward to it, the game against West Indies was a good one,” Finn added. ”There is always a good atmosphere at the Oval so it will be great. Hopefully the sun shines and we can get another win.”