Battered Steven Finn looks for a plan to keep M S Dhoni quiet


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The Independent Online

If Steven Finn was sick of the sight of M S Dhoni after the Indian captain's brutal batting dismantled his bowling figures in the second one-day international on Tuesday, he would be advised to walk around Ranchi blindfolded. Five minutes was all it took upon setting foot in Dhoni's hometown for the first billboard to loom large – who knew the Indian captain had a favourite brand of cement?

"It was excellent batsmanship, some of the best I have bowled against," conceded England's 6ft 7in fast bowler. For eight overs, Finn kept the Indian batsmen under control with figures of 2 for 26 at a run rate of just 3.25 per over. Twelve balls later, his full 10 overs had cost 51 runs, with the final two going for 25 and his run rate up above five an over. Dhoni faced 10 of those balls and plundered 20 runs.

Three times Finn produced balls that looked like wicket-takers but Dhoni swung all three to the boundary with his now signature "helicopter" shot – played with a whirling arc of the bat and a blur of a follow-through. None of the England seamers escaped and Finn admitted: "We have to come up with different plans over the next few days to counteract what they are going to do."

One plan tried in that second match in Kochi by both Finn and his strike partner Jade Dernbach was to bowl along that fine line between a legal delivery and a wide.

"Jade bowled really well with that plan," Finn said. "Dhoni seems to hit straight balls very well through midwicket so we will work out a plan and go into the next game with a clear frame of mind of how we will counteract them."

With no Stuart Broad or James Anderson in this series, Finn will be key to those plans, as he admitted himself: "Without those guys here, it is important I step up and take that leadership role."

Although he would not reveal what the new plans may include, the yorker must come up for discussion. It may be notoriously difficult to execute but world-class seamers need it in their arsenal and, as Ian Botham proved during the 1984-85 tour here, the yorker has the added advantage of removing lifeless Indian pitches from the equation. By the time England play the third match this Saturday, the toe-crushing delivery may well make an appearance.