Finn: I had to stay cool to thrive in heat of Ashes battle

England's young fast bowler 'loving' the raucous atmosphere at a packed Gabba
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The Independent Online

Steven Finn said that he found his Ashes debut "exhilarating" after taking two wickets on the second day at The Gabba.

Finn recovered from a difficult start to strike twice in the afternoon session, taking a tricky low return catch to dismiss Simon Katich on 50, his first ever Ashes wicket and then, with the second ball of his next spell, inducing a mistimed pull from Michael Clarke who was caught behind by Matt Prior. He finished the day with figures of 2 for 61.

Finn was pleased with how he handled the pressure. "It was important that I didn't build it up to be too big," Finn said. "That would have been detrimental to my performance so it was important that I just put myself in the position at the end of my mark that I have done every time that I have done before."

Finn was keen to discuss the atmosphere he encountered at The Gabba, contrasting it with what he is used to in English domestic cricket. Finn made his Test debut in Bangladesh in March and his elevation to first-change bowler in an Ashes test has been rapid. This is only his ninth Test match.

"It was great to get out there and bowl having heard the crowd all of yesterday screaming and shouting," Finn said. "To be able to play in front of 35,000 people today was exhilarating. I'm used to playing Championship cricket in front of 20 people but it's been great to play in front of so many people and to have so many people watching and to be influenced by it. All of us are loving it at the moment."

The English attack had a mixed second day. James Anderson made the crucial breakthrough before lunch, having the dangerous Shane Watson caught in the slips by Andrew Strauss. Watson had hit a brisk 36 including six boundaries. Stuart Broad did not take a wicket but bowled economically all day, sending down 20 overs and conceding just 41 runs. Graeme Swann, identified by many before the series as the key to England's success after a very successful 18 months recovered, like Finn, from a difficult start and went on to dismiss Marcus North, who edged to Paul Collingwood at slip.

"The other bowlers bowled well and that's been the nature of the game so far," Finn said. "It's ebbed and flowed and I'm sure it will again, so it's going to be nice to have the new ball in the morning and we're looking forward to it."

Australia reasserted themselves in the final session, largely thanks to the efforts of Mike Hussey who returned to form after a recent barren patch to hit an unbeaten 81. This innings, and his partnership with Brad Haddin, which survived the whole final session, was particularly frustrating for England as Hussey edged just short of Swann at second slip from his first ball.

"It would have been nice had it carried another yard," Finn added. "He averages over 50 in Tests and we need to bowl to our plans to make sure that he doesn't get too many more."