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Ashes: Early start suits England, says Steven Finn

Steven Finn
Finn took the wickets of Simon Katich and Michael Clarke

England paceman Steven Finn said he hoped an earlier start on day three would enable the tourists to quickly polish off Australia's first innings.

After rain curtailed Friday's play, Saturday's will start at 0930 local time (2330 GMT), and England will be able to take the new ball immediately.

"We feel the early morning conditions could work to our advantage," said Finn, who took 2-61 on Friday.

Australia are 220-5 in reply to England's 260, with Mike Hussey on 81.

His unbroken stand of 77 with Brad Haddin (22) helped Australia reassert their superiority after an England-dominated middle session during which Finn and James Anderson (2-40) cut through the hosts' middle order.

The other wicket to fall was that of Marcus North, caught by Paul Collingwood at slip off the bowling off Graeme Swann for one, a wicket which united Haddin and Hussey at the crease.

Despite his hopes for Saturday's first session, Finn said it was "obviously frustrating" that England were not able to take the new ball with thick cloud cover overhead on Friday evening as the umpires ruled the light had become too poor.

"We felt [Anderson and Stuart Broad] were bowling beautifully and that we could take advantage," added Finn.

Describing the experience of bowling in an Ashes Test for the first time, Middlesex's Finn, 21, told BBC Sport: "It's great to get the opportunity, and the crowd were amazing. They were loud and it was exhilarating to be a part of it.

His first wicket - to dismiss opener Simon Katich - came as a result of a fine catch off his own bowling, and Finn stated: "Becoming all-round cricketers is something we work hard on. It's one catch, I have to make sure I take every catch that comes my way."

England's four wickets between lunch and tea were the result of some run-sapping pressure built up by the seamers.

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"The nature of the bowling determines that if we can build up pressure on the two batsmen who are out there hopefully that can cause wickets to fall," said Finn. "We just have to be patient."

Finn, who is playing in only his ninth Test since making his debut against Bangladesh in March, said he is continuing to learn his trade alongside more experienced colleagues.

"Jimmy's [Anderson] played 50 odd Tests and taken nearly 200 wickets, so he's obviously a very, very good bowler - and he's been an ever-present in the side for a long time," he added.

"I look up to him obviously. To have him and Broady [Stuart Broad] around me who have bowled a lot of balls in Test match cricket, it's great for me to feed off.

"We're always communicating as a unit. It's not just one bit of advice Jimmy's given me; it's spell-to-spell, ball-to-ball that we're always trying to work out a way of getting batsmen out.

"A few times today, it didn't quite go to plan. But I'm young; I'm learning all the time - and it's important that I keep doing that and come back better."

Among Hussey's 13 fours and one six was a series of pulls off the seamers as the short balls were effortlessly despatched, Finn the worst offender.

"We've had plans to him in this game, every so often we bowl a loose ball to him but it's frustrating and we need to come back and be more consistent," Finn conceded.

However, Hussey's was the stand-out performance of the day as he produced an assured innings to silence the critics who had questioned his selection.

Only a century in a Sheffield Shield match last week secured the 35-year-old's test spot after a run of poor form in the longer form of the game and the lefthander responded with only his third 50-plus Test score since his 134 against Pakistan in January.

"There are always negative thoughts, and doubts about the situation of the game," commented Hussey.

"Certainly there was a bit of pressure on me, but the key to batting is to get those things out of your mind and just see the ball.

"Nothing's changed at all, I just tried to stick with what works for me.

"My mind is a bit clearer and I'm maybe seeing the ball clearer out of the bowler's hand.

"At other times, particularly in the last couple of years, there's negative thoughts or situations that go through your mind; about the game or what the pitch is doing so it stops you playing with the same freedom."

Mike Hussey
Hussey was able to capitalise on short-pitched England bowling

Hussey said he had required "a bit of luck" to survive his first ball, which he almost edged to slip.

He settled down quickly to play one of his best innings for months, and said: "I felt my feet were moving well and that I was seeing the ball nicely out of the bowler's hand.

"We still have a lot to do. The wicket here is a bit different to normal, not quite as true as we have faced before but it's still a very good pitch and a rewarding one for the bowlers if they get it in the right areas.

"The game is 50-50 at the moment. We'd love to be two or three down and the same as them scorewise but the two teams are very tight.

"It's going to ebb and flow throughout the test match. We are very close and it could well come down to pivotal moments in the game. One ball or one diving catch."



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see also
Justin Langer's key moments
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Jonathan Agnew column
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Defiant Hussey frustrates England
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First Ashes Test in photos
26 Nov 10 |  England
Siddle hat-trick shocks England
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England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket


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