Steven Finn is relishing the chance to banish his Australian demons after turning in a five-star performance at the Gabba.
Little more than a year ago Finn was losing his way Down Under as he struggled with his action and his confidence during a nightmare Ashes trip.
It was here in Brisbane that things reached their nadir, with Finn sent home early from the tour after then coach Ashley Giles deemed him “unselectable”.
But those harrowing days – and the gradual journey back – were put to one side as he claimed career-best one-day international figures of 5-33 against Tri-Series rivals India, setting England on course for a handsome nine-wicket win.
Finn’s steepling bounce was the decisive factor as India were rolled over for 153, a total Ian Bell (88no) and James Taylor (56no) knocked off with ease.
“Obviously a lot has happened in the last 12 months and it’s pretty much a year to the day that I went home from that tour of Australia,” he recalled, with a smile.
“But that corner’s been turned and I feel like I turned it a little while ago. All that stuff’s in the past now.
“To take five wickets was obviously very pleasing after the work I’ve put in, but I don’t want to look back now, just forward.”
It will be hard for the paceman to forget completely about his previous travails, with plenty of reminders on hand during the current series, and the World Cup to come. But the prospect holds no fear now.
“To come here and be in the same hotels and get over those hurdles has been fun. I’m enjoying my time in Australia and to take wickets is obviously very good.
“There are a few bad memories knocking around in the places we’re travelling to, but this will help relax me. I’m happy with where I’m at now.”
Finn’s efforts, not to mention four wickets from the fit-again James Anderson and an effortlessly classy innings from Bell, handed Eoin Morgan a first win since taking over the captaincy from Alastair Cook.
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 Anderson chimed in with 4-18 in his first one-day international since September.
India opted to bat first but Anderson made short work of underperforming opener Shikhar Dhawan, swinging one away from the left-hander and picking up a regulation caught behind.
With Rohit Sharma injured, India sent in replacement Ambati Rayudu 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 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 deliveries from Finn that lifted sharply, took the edge and sailed through to Buttler, and Suresh Raina charged Moeen Ali’s second ball only to be stumped in no-man’s land.
That left India 67-5 but Mahendra Singh Dhoni knuckled 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 bouncer by Finn 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.
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 and Taylor ensured there was no change in momentum.
England move on to Hobart tomorrow, where they will face a rematch with the Australia side which dismantled them at the SCG last week.