Finn excels as England respond against India

Steven Finn returned to the scene of his lowest ebb last winter and left a match-winner as England crushed India by nine wickets at the Gabba.

England's Steven Finn waves to the crowd after he took five wickets during the one-day International cricket match between England and India in Brisbane. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)
England's Steven Finn waves to the crowd after he took five wickets during the one-day International cricket match between England and India in Brisbane. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)

Brisbane was the venue a year ago when England announced that Finn was being sent home early from their dire tour of Australia having suffered a chronic loss of form and confidence.

Finn was not even certain of his place in this Tri-Series match until Chris Jordan’s illness settled matters in his favour, but his five for 33 was the standout performance as India were blown away for 153, their lowest completed total against England.

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Ian Bell played magnificently in reply, making 88 not out in a century stand with James Taylor, who was unbeaten on 56.

The chase was over in just 27.3 overs, with England collecting a bonus-point victory to put themselves on course for a place in the Perth final.


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Former coach Ashley Giles memorably deemed Finn “unselectable” when putting him on the plane last year but at times here ‘unplayable’ seemed a better fit.

Finn did not charge in with express pace but found a springy deck to his liking and repeatedly unsettled the Indian batsman with bounce, while the fit-again James Anderson chimed in with four for 18 in his first one-day international since September.

India opted to bat first but were under pressure from the start.

Anderson made short work of the underperforming opener Shikhar Dhawan, swinging one away from the left-hander and picking up a regulation caught behind.

With Rohit Sharma injured, India sent his replacement Ambati Rayudu in at three but neither he nor Ajinkya Rahane could lay a glove on Anderson.

The duo never seemed at ease but their scrappy 56-run partnership showed a determination that was sorely lacking elsewhere.

Finn was the man to break the stand, Rahane going too hard at a good-length ball and chipping to Taylor at mid-on.

That started a sequence of four wickets for 10 runs that ripped the India top order to shreds.

Virat Kohli and Rayudu were both undone by Finn deliveries that lifted sharply, took the edge and sailed through to Buttler, while Suresh Raina charged Moeen Ali’s second ball only to be stumped in no-man’s land.

That left India 67 for five and in need of some Mahendra Singh Dhoni magic.

He tried his best, knuckling down with the aggressive Stuart Binny in a determined stand of 70.

But that was as good as it got, as a second collapse of five wickets for 16 runs ended the India effort with 63 balls unbowled.

The batting powerplay brought Finn and Anderson back into the attack and they were clinical.

A Finn bouncer ended Dhoni’s stay on 34 and he made it two in two balls by clipping Axar Patel’s off stump.

His hat-trick ball was harmless, leaving Anderson to blow away Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Binny and Mohamed Shami.

Morgan and Moeen aided Anderson with a pair of brilliant catches in the outfield.

England’s haste left them six overs to bat before the interval and Moeen was gone in the third, toe-ending Binny to mid-off. But Bell ensured there was no change in momentum.

He raced to 28 as the sides headed to the pavilion with England 41 for one.

Bell was just as calm when play resumed, milking Binny’s medium-pace for early boundaries.

Taylor soon found his own rhythm, as a rotating cast of Indian bowlers served up increasingly unthreatening fare.

Bell’s 50 came at exactly a run per ball, after which he reeled through his repertoire of shots - planting Umesh Yadav through the covers, then crashing Patel for fours through mid-wicket and point.

There were also pulls and trademark dabs to third man as Bell left his mark on the labouring Indian attack, with Taylor quietly moving to his own half-century in 58 balls.

There was not quite enough on the board for Bell to progress to what would have been a wonderful century, with Taylor finishing things by lapping Patel for four over his shoulder.

England move on to Hobart on Wednesday, where they will face a rematch with the Australia side who dismantled them in at the SCG last week.