Middlesex fast bowler Steven Finn should be let loose on India in the fourth Test at Old Trafford on Thursday after replacing the injured Liam Plunkett in England's squad.
Bowling for his county with his original zest that enabled him to play 23 Test matches and 39 ODIs, the Watford FC fan should fit in nicely to an England team brimming with confidence after thrashing India in Southampton last week.
England’s previous Test match at the baking hot Ageas Bowl was almost the complete performance.
Captain of the side Alastair Cook was under enormous pressure from some of English cricket’s heavyweights – such as Ian Botham and Geoffrey Boycott – to stand down from the
However his scores of 95 and 70 not out alongside the massive 266 run win he marshaled should dispel this criticism and silence anyone that doubted him.
His 95 in the first innings was trademark Cook: patient, solid and deadly against the short ball. The 70 not out in 114 balls that followed was busier and more fluent showing his batting versatility.
Finn’s inclusion means that a replacement could be made, and it looks very likely that Chris Jordan will lose his place for this Test match.
The Sussex player bowled a series of wasted deliveries down the legside, failed to take a wicket and had the worst economy rate (3.47) in India’s first innings of all the England bowlers during the last Test.
With Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad considered irreplaceable as well as Chris Woakes performing arguably a lot better, Jordan looks the obvious man to be dropped despite his more accomplished batting and fielding.
The beard to be feared
Moeen Ali’s cartel of wickets in India’s second batting outing in the third test – six in total - showed that India might need to pay more attention to the off-spinner than they first thought.
Just as Australia targeted Graeme Swann in the last Ashes, India looked to do the same here against Ali. This led to their peril.
Rohit Sharma, looking to skip down the wicket and smash the ball over mid-off, fell cheaply as did Ajinkya Rahane who toe-ended a long hop straight to midwicket.
These scalps were gifts from their opposition that will only benefit the Worcestershire all-rounder and England in their preparation for the next Test match in Manchester in which they will undoubtedly look to win.
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