Steven Finn: Any six wickets will do for England

Published: Wednesday 30th December 2015 by The News Editor

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Steven Finn believes England hold a “fantastic position” going into the final day of the first Test against South Africa.

The Proteas will resume on 136 for four at Kingsmead needing another 280 runs to complete a record-breaking – and highly improbable win – and will instead hope to see out three sessions for a draw.

Finn played a key role in undermining those aspirations on the fourth evening, removing Faf Du Plessis in the final over to add to his earlier dismissals of Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla.

The notable figure of AB De Villiers remains in England’s way, having survived when Jonny Bairstow missed a tricky stumping on 33, but Finn is not allowing his presence to take away from the situation the tourists have created.

“We’re in a fantastic position to try and press for victory,” said the 6ft 7in seamer.

“We back ourselves to get these wickets. We didn’t take one of those half-chances on the stumping unfortunately but as long as we get all 10 it doesn’t matter how or who gets them.

“De Villiers is obviously the big wicket if we can get him but there’s six others we can get as well.”

“He averages 50-odd in Tests so he’s a very important player for them, one of the best in the world, but as long as we get six more wickets I don’t care which six we get.”

Finn’s involvement in a memorable victory over the world’s number one Test side looked fanciful just a few weeks ago.

He was left out of the original 16-man squad having broken down with a bone injury in left foot in October, in advance of the Pakistan away series.

But he joined the party via detour with England Lions and has not looked back.

“It wasn’t ideal to go home from Dubai with a stress fracture but it gave me a chance to rest my body,” he said.

“Even when I was injured I was confident I’d be fit to play in this match and so far there’s been no pain.

“I’m just trying to enjoy myself, play with a smile on my face and enjoy great occasions such as this Boxing Day Test.”

South Africa’s game plan on day five is a simple one, keep England in the field and make each partnership last as long as possible.

Dane Piedt, who took a maiden five-wicket haul in England’s second innings and now has a job to do in the middle, said: “The batsmen we have left are really going to knuckle down.

“We plan to take it as long as possible, session by session. That’s all we can really do and hope it goes our way.”

Published: Wednesday 30th December 2015 by The News Editor

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