Finn upbeat ahead of Sri Lanka


Published: Thursday 26th February 2015 by The News Editor

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England paceman Steven Finn has put his mauling at the hands of Brendon McCullum behind him as he prepares for a return to the Wellington Regional Stadium this weekend.

England meet Sri Lanka in a crunch clash at the same venue where they suffered one of their worst-ever World Cup defeats to New Zealand just a week ago.

Finn was brutalised by McCullum, who sent the ball rattling around the ‘Cake Tin’. The right-armer’s two overs cost a remarkable 49 runs – McCullum blazing six sixes – as the Black Caps raced to victory in just 12.2 overs.

Despite the carnage England’s selectors kept faith with the same XI for the following 119-run win over Scotland on Monday and Finn showed his ability to bounce back by claiming three for 26.

Those figures followed his five-wicket haul in the opening game against Australia, when Finn also took one of the most unheralded hat-tricks ever.

“(The ball) feels as though it is coming out of my hands nicely,” Finn said.

“I got met by Brendon McCullum the other day at the ‘Cake Tin’ but in the situation of that game it could have happened to anyone. To come back against Scotland and bowl relatively nicely and to get a few wickets as well was pleasing.”

Finn is one of the highest wicket-takers at the tournament, having claimed eight at an average of 18.25, but feels he still needs to do more after England’s tough start.

“I’m looking to build on those performances,” he said.

“I’m obviously not completely satisfied or happy with them because of the two games we’ve lost so far. It is a starting block to build from and hopefully as we go through this tournament I can keep building momentum with my bowling as well.”

With half of their group games completed England have little room for error if they are to reach the quarter-finals.

Victory over Sri Lanka on Sunday would represent an important step towards emerging from Pool A and Finn said England would treat the final three games like they were knockout encounters.

“It’s a great scenario for us to be able to look at it in black and white – as it is now if we win those games we’re through,” he said.

“Every game in effect is a quarter-final for us – it is a knockout stage. It works well for us and hopefully that mentality, we can take into each of these games which are going to be big.

“We’ll take that mentality into those games and hopefully we’ll come out the other side with some good results.”

England trained at the picturesque Karori Cricket Club in Wellington on Thursday as the squad split up to concentrate on death bowling and batting during a centre-wicket practice. England’s performances in the final overs have come in for some criticism at the tournament so far.

“Scenario practice is probably the best sort of practice you can do because you see where the ball gets hit and you’re not fantasising about where your fielders are like in the nets,” Finn said.

“There are fielders there and you can see where the ball is going. There’s no kidding yourself when it comes to scenario practice in the middle and it is probably the best sort of practice and the practice I enjoy.”

England lost their pre-Christmas one-day international series in Sri Lanka 5-2, but conditions in New Zealand are more likely to suit Eoin Morgan’s side.

“We played them in their conditions in Sri Lanka and we lost.,” Finn said.

“With the side that we have now and the people we have in the team and the time we’ve had to become accustomed to conditions over here, I think that Sunday is going to be a very good game and hopefully we can use the conditions to our advantage.”

Published: Thursday 26th February 2015 by The News Editor

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