England’s Steven Finn puts himself in frame for first Test against South Africa

STEVEN FINN: Could play in the first Test against South Africa having originally been omitted from England's touring squad. Picture: Mike Egerton
STEVEN FINN: Could play in the first Test against South Africa having originally been omitted from England's touring squad. Picture: Mike Egerton
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Steven Finn will be given every chance to prove he is fit to play in the Boxing Day Test against South Africa.

Finn was not named in the original 16-man squad due to a bone stress injury in his left foot, but joined the party in Potchefstroom after a successful trip to Dubai with the England Lions.

Having sat out the first tour match against a South Africa Invitational XI, the series opener in Durban looked an optimistic aim for the 6ft 7ins pace bowler.

But bowling coach Ottis Gibson has worked at close quarters with Finn in recent days and has seen enough to consider him ready for action.

England complete their warm-up schedule with a three-day game against South Africa A starting tomorrow and Finn is pushing hard for a place.

“He’s put himself in the frame,” said Gibson.

“My understanding is that everybody is available for selection.

“Once he (Finn) made it here he was added to the squad and therefore, if he proves it in the next couple of days, he is ready.

“He has been excellent. He has obviously done a lot of work in the UAE and the guys over there who looked after him did a great job getting him up to speed.

“He has been topping up nicely and he has done a lot of good stuff here as well.

“He was bowling very well in the summer before he got injured and may well feel he was the bowler in possession.”

With Alex Hales having been all but promised the second opener’s slot, despite his modest performance at Senwes Park, and Yorkshire’s Jonny Bairstow retaining the wicketkeeping gloves ahead of Jos Buttler, the identity of England’s third seamer is the only real selection poser left.

As well as Finn, England have Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan and uncapped left-armer Mark Footitt vying for the shirt.

It is possible three of the four will face South Africa A, with new ball bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad rested. The pair sent down just 11.1 overs between them in the tour opener, but with just two days between the first and second Tests, workload management might already be a priority.