County Championship round-up: Steven Finn gets confidence boost on Middlesex return

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The Independent Online

Bowler of the day

Steven Finn, sent home early from England's doomed Ashes tour because of problems with his bowling technique, returned to first-class cricket for Middlesex with a performance probably beyond even his own expectations.

The 24-year-old fast bowler, who was sent home back in January with his confidence on the floor, took 6 for 80 against Sussex at Hove.

Expensive in his first spell on Sunday evening – play was washed out on Monday – Finn found greater economy and control on day three, taking his wickets in three spells of six, seven and four overs from the Sea End.

Batsman of the day

Finn's wickets included England wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who had earlier completed the first century of the new season on an interesting day for Middlesex director of cricket Angus Fraser, wearing his new England selector's hat, who also saw Sam Robson, touted to open in the Tests against Sri Lanka, fall cheaply for the second time in the match.

Prior, playing as a batsman because of an Achilles tendon injury, had been dropped off Finn on 10 on Sunday and had two more lives today – the first in the day's opening over when he was on just 32 – but otherwise made an impressive start in his quest to amass Championship runs after being left out of the final two Tests in Australia.


Jonathan Trott, who made his comeback following stress-induced problems on the Ashes tour in a friendly last week, returned to first-class action with Warwickshire at The Parks, but had made only eight runs when he was caught at long-leg off 19-year-old Oxford University pace bowler Sam Weller, who is on Kent's books.