Finn spearheads formidable attack


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The Independent Online

Kevin Pietersen drew most of the plaudits on Saturday, his unbeaten 111 instrumental in steering England to a series victory with a match remaining. It was the his first limited-overs century in more than three years, but his feats should not be allowed to divert attention from the magnificent quality of England's bowling.

The old sweats have had their moments but nobody has been as effective as Steve Finn, a 22-year-old fast bowler at the top of his game. Towards the end of last summer Finn found an extra yard of pace. Allied to improved accuracy and the bounce his 6ft 8in frame allows him to extract, he has become an extremely potent adversary.

"I've worked bloody hard to get where I am," he said yesterday. "There have been a lot of hours in the nets, bowling a lot of overs back with Middlesex, the time I spent in New Zealand before Christmas. I feel as though I have only got better since the Ashes last year."

Finn was dropped from the England side that won the Ashes in Australia for a lack of control in his bowling, but the knack of picking up wickets has never deserted hin. In that series he was leading wicket-taker when he made way for Tim Bresnan, he took nine wickets in his first home Test ,and in the current one-day series he has 11 to his name.

"Never once did I think I'd cracked it," he said. "I had a lucky streak when I managed to take a lot of wickets in not many games. I went away after last winter's Ashes and worked hard and realised there were a lot of areas where I needed to improve.

"There were a few minor technical things that needed work – straightening my run-up, making sure I follow through. That might be where my extra bit of pace has come from. Simple things that make a big difference."