New Zealand v England: Steven Finn remains positive despite struggles
The hosts reached 250 for one today
Friday 22 March 2013
England know the only way to fight back after day one of the final Test is to keep cool and stay true to trusted methods.
Opener Peter Fulton's maiden Test hundred, at the age of 34, carried the hosts to 250 for one after Alastair Cook had been persuaded - by a tinge of green in the drop-in pitch at Eden Park - to bowl first.
It was an outcome which brought to mind unwanted memories of the decision by one of Cook's predecessors Nasser Hussain to put Australia in at Brisbane a decade ago.
There, of course, England's Ashes hosts piled up even more and set themselves on the way to a 4-1 series victory.
Here, Cook's tourists began hoping to break the 0-0 deadlock after rain-affected draws in Dunedin and Wellington.
By stumps, it was hard to see how they might do that on another batsman's pitch after Steven Finn had taken the only wicket of the day - that of Fulton's opening partner Hamish Rutherford.
It fell to Finn to profess afterwards that all is far from lost for England.
"I don't think it's a disastrous day of Test cricket for us," he said.
"If this was easy cricket, it would be called 'Easy' cricket. It's Test, and you know it's a test."
Finn had no qualms with Cook's decision to bat first, as Kiwi captain Brendon McCullum had said yesterday he would too if he had the choice.
The seamer emphasised that his fellow pace bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad might easily have had more reward for their efforts.
"Jimmy had quite a lot of edges that just went straight into the ground and down to third-man for four.
"Yes, obviously we'd have liked to take more than one wicket.
"But they've only got 250 runs on the board, and a crazy session - like we've had before - can turn the game on its head.
"I thought Jimmy bowled brilliantly all day, and Broady was excellent as well."
Cook made the call on a sunny morning, after a collective pooling of opinion with senior players and management.
"There's a group of people more senior than me who look at those sorts of things," said Finn.
"I personally wasn't consulted before they chose to bowl first. But I think everyone was in agreement, looking at it, that it would do more than it did.
"Everyone who looked at it - including Brendon McCullum, before the toss - thought it would do more.
"You know you are only one spell away from turning the game on its head, and we've got people in the team who are capable of that.
"We live in hope that could happen tomorrow - but we don't 'chase' it."
Fulton, meanwhile, belatedly demonstrated his ability to make a big score at the highest level.
The tall opener has spent much of the past four years out of contention as a Test batsman.
"To say I was pretty pleased with how that's gone is an understatement," he said.
"A mixture of excitement and relief is probably a good way of putting it.
"At the start of this season, I probably wondered if I'd get another chance to get a Test hundred.
"Once you've been in and out of the team a few times, you get to that stage where you might have had your last chance - but thankfully that wasn't the case.
"(Coach) Mike Hesson and the selectors showed some faith in me, and I hope I've gone some way to repaying that."
Fulton needed 203 balls to reach three figures, and made it clear afterwards that England's bowlers had tested him throughout.
"They kept on running in and coming hard.
"There was never a stage where I thought it was my day, and I could relax."
Likewise, Finn and his colleagues retained belief at all times that they could turn things around - and they will do the same tomorrow.
"At no stage today did we get despondent," he said.
"To keep them at three-an-over and not too far out of our sights is good.
"It's important we try to wrestle the momentum from New Zealand - because after a day like that, they do have it."
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