Finn risks ridicule by saying England can still win series

  • @stephenbrenkley

England have come to the new town of Chandigarh while conveying the distinct impression of being in cloud cuckoo land. Inevitably, as is the lot of the professional sportsman who is up against it, they have little option.

At 2-0 down to India with three matches to play in the one-day series they have to insist that they can turn matters round. But there is still the suspicion they are in denial about the grievous nature of what has happened so far in two overwhelming defeats.

The fast bowler, Steve Finn, said yesterday: "We look to attack with the new ball and we've done that quite well in both games. We've created a few opportunities and could have been in better positions after 10 overs than we were. On another day I could have had three or four wickets.

"India have played well the last couple of games and we haven't performed at our peak. We're 2-0 down in the series but we were in the same position against Sri Lanka in England earlier this year and we came back to win the series 3-2. There's a lot of belief in the camp that we're going to come back and win the series."

Good for their belief but India have outclassed these tourists at every turn so far, and if that is to general astonishment after what happened in England recently, it might have distorted some views. Nor were England ever 2-0 down against Sri Lanka, they were 1-0 up, lost two and then won two.

Now they have to win three and whilst it is not impossible the standard of their batting especially has to increase sharply and quickly. Ian Bell is likely to be drafted into the side and although the name of the 21-year-old leg spinner Scott Borthwick received several checks yesterday, the pitch looked unfathomably green.

Finn liked what he saw. Although he has one wicket for 117 runs in the first two matches, Finn has bowled consistently above 90mph. Sometime, someone will pay. He said: "My mum rang me and said, 'You were bowling at 94mph yesterday.' It was great."

After this tour, Finn will go to New Zealand to play for Otago in the first-class Plunket Shield, an early indication that he will be heading to the UAE in the new year for the Test series against Pakistan. That may be too early for Graham Onions to be recalled but he is at last about to resume his international career after being laid off for almost two years.

Onions has been called up to India in place of Chris Woakes, who has an injured thigh. After returning home early from Bangladesh in March last year, Onions missed the whole of the subsequent English season with a back complaint but he gradually worked his way back to form for Durham last summer.

The selectors, recognising that at 29 he may be a better bet than some of their younger brigade, have repaid his dedication. But unless England manage to transform things tomorrow Onions might be too late.

India (probable): M S Dhoni (capt and wkt), PA Patel, A M Rahane, G Gambhir, V Kohli, S K Raina, R A Jadeja, P Kumar, R Ashwin, V Kumar, U Yadav

England (probable): A N Cook (capt), C Kieswetter (wkt), I J L Trott, K P Pietersen, I R Bell, R S Bopara, J M Bairstow, T T Bresnan, G P Swann, S T Finn, J W Dernbach

Umpires B F Bowden (NZ) and S Asnani (India)

Pitch Mohali tends to offer extra pace and bounce which could help England quicks

TV 9.30am-6.30pm, Sky Sports 1

Odds India 8/13, England 5/4