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Steven Finn thrust himself to the front of the queue for the Boxing Day Test with four wickets for England on day one against South Africa A.
Finn was a late addition to the touring party having missed the recent Pakistan series with a bone stress injury in his left foot.
But he was given his chance to impress and immediately hit form with four for 34 as a strong-looking batting line-up were rolled over for 136.
He dismissed the dangerous Quinton De Kock with his third ball of the tour and then turned in a superb spell after lunch to remove Omphile Ramela, Khaya Zondo and captain Dane Vilas in the space of nine deliveries.
That left the home side, who had been inserted by Alastair Cook, teetering and all-rounder Ben Stokes helped finish the job in 56 overs with three for 25.
Finn's success put the uncapped Mark Footitt firmly in the shade, while fellow Test hopeful Chris Woakes was left to watch from the sidelines having not been selected.
England began the day well on a pitch that looked green but offered little zip off the surface.
By lunch they had restricted South Africa A to a modest 66 for three, with Footitt, Finn and Stuart Broad sharing the wickets.
Footitt and Broad both succeeded with rising deliveries around off stump, which Reeva Hendricks then Rilee Rossouw nicked fine to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.
Finn was offered a first chance to impress in the 13th over and duly had De Kock, owner of six Test caps, caught by Alex Hales at third slip.
It was a loose stroke to a delivery slanted towards the cordon, but Finn's knack for inducing such brainwaves is an attractive one for the selectors.
The 6ft 7in seamer returned in the afternoon with a quick, controlled six-over stint that cannot have failed to make him favourite to join Broad and the rested James Anderson in Durban.
Ramela and Zondo succumbed to successive deliveries, the former to a smart James Taylor catch at point and the latter by Joe Root in the slips for a golden duck.
Home skipper Vilas, who played for the Proteas in the recent India series, was next to depart lbw to leave the scoreboard at 99 for six.
Opener Stephen Cook, a becalmed spectator throughout, was dropped on 41 off Moeen Ali's spin but otherwise dug in for the team.
Stokes was responsible for that drop but atoned by ending Chris Morris' breezy knock of 21 in 22 balls just before tea.
The last three wickets occupied just 10 balls of the afternoon session, Stokes too good for Marchant De Lange and Dane Paterson, while Keshav Maharaj was run out.