Is Steven Finn currently baking pies to chuck in the second Test?

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Steven Finn unleashes a devastating long hop

We’ve mixed feelings about whether or not Steven Finn should be dropped. On the one hand, he is reassuringly distinct from England’s other bowlers, but on the other, he did a damn good impression of someone who went to pieces and became a complete liability during the first Test. It also felt significant that Alastair Cook held off using him for so long in the second innings.

One thing we’d say in favour of reliable pudding-face, Tim Bresnan, is that solid, stolid fast-medium is probably a decent enough approach against many of Australia’s more skittish batsmen. Our worry is that something more might be needed for Chris Rogers and Michael Clarke. Perhaps that’s where Jimmy comes in.

We also wouldn’t say no to a slice of Onions. He’s always the man to take wickets in county cricket and that’s a much more demanding task than bowling to Phil Hughes or Shane Watson once he’s got past 40 and turned rubbish.


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  1. I’m not sure whether any tall “up and down” bowler would have achieved anything on that Trent Bridge wicket.

    Steve Finn should feel far more at home at Lord’s for more than one reason. In particular, Lord’s should ahve some decent bounce for most of the match.

    Bresnan is not going to get as much reverse at Lord’s as he might at some of the other venues.

    Onions bowls well at Lord’s, but I cannot see England picking Onions at this stage ahead of Finn and Bresnan.

    In short, I’d give Finn another run at Lord’s and reassess for Old Trafford based on Finn’s performance and also the sort of track we might be served up there.

    1. Do you have those people who only follow football but who nevertheless have opinions on the test match they want to share, usually based on the ten minutes they watched and something Boycott said that combine to become Not Even Wrong? I have several, and they’re worslier than anything.

      “Hey Bert, did you see that cricket match yesterday? I love the Ashes, it’s always dead exciting on the last day. What about that Agar, eh? I wish Swann was half the player he is. I’d drop Swann, me, if he doesn’t get himself sorted out. And as for Finn…”

  2. We seem to accept that the top seven batsmen are a unit much easier than we accept the same of the four bowlers. One century, three 50s and three failures from the top seven is fine, and as long as over a year or so there is a reasonable rotation in who gets what, we stick with it and carry on.

    There has been much comment in the last day or so that England is totally reliant on Anderson. Why? Finn was 2 – 0 – 12 – 2 in Australia’s first innings, and a whisker away from it being 3. This had a massive impact on the match. And even if in this match Anderson was the difference – so what? Someone has to be.

    Stuart Broad gets the same pressure after every individual poor return. Bresnan also. Anderson is different, because he performs to an astonishing standard in every match. But he is the first English bowler in the last 20 years to do this. He is the exception. But bowlers like him are as rare as hen’s teeth – we can’t judge them all against him.

    A quick glance at Finn’s test innings list for the last year shows two 3-fers, three 4-fers and a 6-fer (and a career average of under 30 as well). Not outstanding, but not terrible. We should pick bowlers because of their ability to hit reasonably regular high points, and accept that unless our selectors are all-knowing oracles there is no way of knowing when these will be. Brett Lee averaged 40+ in Ashes cricket, but I’d rather he’d been hadn’t played at Trent Bridge in 05. Drop Finn for Lords? Maybe, but don’t you think we might miss his match-winning 6 for 48? Or maybe that’s due at Old Trafford.

    1. Re your first para .. Don’t think it’s wrong that batsmen are judged over a longer period than bowlers. Batsmen are usually out the first time they make a mistake … So it makes sense to judge over a longer period.
      Bowlers get to come back another few overs. You can usually tell if they are crap in fewer matches.

  3. Good points as ever, Bert. But I would say that there is more of an argument for rotating the seamers based on pitch and weather conditions, fitness and opposition strengths and weaknesses. Batsmen generally have to play well in all conditions to keep their international place. Bowlers can be more specialised for certain scenarios.

    On a cloudy humid morning I would like to see what Onions can do. He bowls very straight and would trouble Watson in particular.

    What of Bairstow? How long do they stick with him while he is not performing? And who is next in line? Taylor? Bopara? Morgan? Compton?

    1. As an Aussie fan I would be very happy if Onions doesn’t play. That’s not to say the others aren’t great bowlers, more that our batsmen struggle against swing.
      As for next in line after Bairstow I would think Bopara? He’s hands down your best tamperer since Trescothick and your bowlers struggled to make use of the old ball in the last test.

    2. Onions is far less a swing bowler than everyone makes out. For the most part he’s line and length from close to the stumps.

  4. Persist with Finny.
    Home ground.
    More bounce.
    More pace.
    Ability to take crucial wickets at unexpected times.
    Plus he’s going to be around for longer than Bresnan, who hasn’t looked the same since his injury, and England’s success in recent years has heen largely based on finding decent players and sticking with them, rather than putting 35 names into the hat at the start of the series and gradually picking them all out.

  5. I’d have to agree with Bert and say England should stick with Finn. While Bresnan is a decent international bowler I wouldn’t say he has that elusive ‘X Factor’ that could lead to him making a match winning contribution with the ball. Stick with Finn and he might turn it around at Lord’s, particularly as he knows the ground well and generally does pretty well there.

  6. I keep telling myself to feel sorry for rather annoyed by the new fans and experts thrown up by the victories in Ashes tests who have not done their time at the coalface of disappointment and defeat.
    The quality of my delight must far exceed theirs, surely?

    Would you have done what whispering death suggested and bowled on the first morning, pitting England’s strength against the Aussie weakness? He said he would have expected them to win quickly and decisively had he been the coach. (I think that’s what he said it was only shown the once)

    1. Daisy was saying exactly that (the Whispering Death suggestion, that is) but as early as lunchtime on Wednesday, at which point “win the toss and bat” still looked like a sensible option to me.

    2. Hmmm. It’s all a moot point, but it was very dark for the whole of the first day. Anderson would have made it hoop around from the start.

    3. When you win the toss – bat. If you are in doubt, think about it – then bat. If you have very big doubts, consult a colleague – then bat.

    4. pedants’ corner: the word moot actually means “arguable”. thanks to the americans, most people now use it to mean the exact opposite (“redundant”, “not worth arguing”).

      presumably this comes about because the word is only ever used in the phrase “a moot point”, and it’s very easy to infer the wrong meaning from that unless it’s totally clear from the context

      the cricket – ? i was just relieved they got over the line in the end and i’m hoping for some bigger scores from the batsmen next time out… as for finn, he does look toothless when he’s not on song but as others have pointed out, he is a potential match-winner and he will be playing at his home ground. i reckon they need to give him another chance

  7. England certainly needs a tall bowler, the elusive Y-factor as Dharmbat1 pointed out. Of course, being thin doesn’t help, so you need some mass in that tall frame. Now you need pace. That a fast bowler needs speed goes without saying. Taking the two together, it appears what England needs right now is mome…ah, never mind.

    1. Thought it was going to be ‘more ties’.

      Bit disappointed it wasn’t, if we’re honest. Even if it wouldn’t have made sense.

  8. I miss pies. They’re rubbish at them over here. They just do fruit ones.

    I found a place called “Pies & Pints” a while ago. Sounds great, but – from their website: “we call our pies “Australian-style” because they can be eaten from the hand” – i.e. they’re pathetic, child-sized blasphemies.

    Or there’s the even worse “Serious Pie”. A sodding pizza restaurant, to go along with the twelvety billion other ones. I should find out what the equivalent of the Trades Description Act is and sue them out of existence.

  9. Canadian work colleague just tweeted the following:

    “Damn. Just switched over to watch Sharks v Panthers game and there isn’t a hockey puck in sight and little chance of a punch-up. #T20cricket”


  10. I can’t keep the thread going on my fancy fashionable smartphone device. But yes, work colleague.

  11. Little chance of a punch up indeed.

    I have long thought that there is a physical resemblance between Adam Rossington and David Warner, but there I think the resemblance ends.

    Mercifully, young Rossington doesn’t go for the “Movember-style tash” – he probably couldn’t yet even if he wanted to.

    1. Is that what that is?

      Is Warner trying to start “Mo-July”?

      Doesn’t quite work, does it?

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