Steven Finn is confident he has "staked a claim" for inclusion in next week's first Test, but admits he still expects others to be preferred ahead of him to face Pakistan in Abu Dhabi.
Finn's four for 16 in 15 overs were the outstanding figures as England agreed their first day of two in the second warm-up match against Pakistan A in Sharjah would be for bowling only.
He took two wickets with the new ball and then two more in the space of four deliveries straight after lunch.
The hosts were struggling at 73 for six but rallied, thanks to Adnan Akmal (74no), to finish with 192 for the curious loss of 12 wickets - both teams agreeing to amend playing conditions as England prioritise Test match preparation over convention.
None of that mattered to Finn, who could reflect on an encouraging performance - even though he may not keep the Test place he won back last summer while Mark Wood was rested and then James Anderson injured.
Those two, and Stuart Broad, were selected in this week's first tour fixture - and Finn anticipates that is England's first string.
"I'd say I've staked a claim ... (but) I'd still be surprised if I played the first Test," said the 26-year-old.
"I think the guys bowled really well the other day, and it wouldn't surprise me if the team that was picked then is the team for the first Test.
"At the moment, I'm back-up to those guys.
"But nothing is set in stone."
Finn found bounce, and a little movement, in a pitch which offered the bowlers a little more than there was across the square two days earlier.
"I felt good...I felt threatening all day," he added.
"It's just about trying to keep that going - and if I am called upon at any stage (making sure) I'm ready to go."
He agrees the specific call on selection is likely to be between him and Wood.
He said: "There will be disappointed people, regardless of who gets picked.
"I don't think the same attack is going to play all the way through the series.
"So if you don't play the first Test, it's not the end of the world - there are two others in very quick succession."
Finn is satisfied nonetheless he has done all he can so far, in training and in the middle.
"A few net sessions, I was pretty close to being sick - or was sick," he said.
"I think everyone's been in that position a little bit over the last week or so, but that hard work now will stand us in good stead."
He believes the unusual format - three men batted twice for Pakistan A - was a sensible means to an end.
"I think a proper match would be ideal," he said.
"But we don't have the luxury of that over here, and I think you have to use these (matches) to serve a purpose.
"Having 88 overs in our legs at the end of the day is a very good thing for us - and even your top-order batsmen coming out again is more of a challenge.
"You want to be challenged as much as you can in these practice games, so you're not surprised when it comes to the Test matches."