The Ashes 2013-14: Aaron Finch warns Graeme Swann that Pup, Watto and Bails will be flying

Four of the top six batsman passed the half-century mark but runs for Root will be the most pleasing thing for England

Sydney

Aaron Finch’s words after the third day of England’s final Ashes warm-up match carried the ring of truth. He had gone in slugging and if he respected any of the opposition bowlers he still treated them all with similar disdain.

The assault was neither as brutal nor as fruitful as that which he launched at Southampton in August. Then he scored 156 from 63 balls, the highest score by a distance in a Twenty20 International. He was much more sedate for the Cricket Australia Invitation XI, in bashing his way to 59 from 60 balls. But some of his shots and the punishment they inflicted on England’s attack were enough to make the casual observer wince. He went after some loose stuff purveyed by the new ball bowlers and then thought it wise to launch into Graeme Swann.

It was to Swann he perished, attempting to slog him for a second successive six only to see the ball spiralling off the top edge to point. Finch knows that playing as he does can lead to that – “risk-reward” he calls it. But it told Swann a little of what he can expect in the coming weeks. Australia’s middle order is packed with right-handers now and they intend to be bristling against the off-spinner.

“I think we saw towards the end of the Ashes last time, they tried to attack him quite early, and had a bit of success doing that,” Finch said. “I suppose when you let a quality, world-class spinner settle in and just keep bowling, the chances are he’s going to get a wicket eventually. So if you can get on the front foot to him, try and attack him early and put him under a bit of pressure, it can help guys through the middle order. We’ve got very, very good players of spin – Pup, Smithy, Watto and Bails now – all very, very good.”

For those not acquainted with the sobriquets of the newly minted Australian middle order, they are, respectively, Michael Clarke, Steve Smith, Shane Watson and George Bailey. “If that’s part of the game plan, being attacking and free-flowing against someone like that can’t be a bad thing,” Finch said. “I think that’s the way these guys play, and have had a lot of success doing that. Knowing Boof, it will be a bit of a game plan.”

Boof is the Australia coach, Darren Lehmann, and like his captain, Clarke, he does not see the virtue of trying to beat England by playing attritional cricket. If it works it could be extremely attractive to watch; if it does not – and Swann is no mug – it could be messy.

Finch was hardly less harsh on the fast bowling trio, Stuart Broad, Steve Finn and Boyd Rankin. He was far more complimentary about Finn than might have been expected. It was a struggle again for Finn on the sandy run-ups and length eluded him. But the ball with which he dismissed Callum Ferguson, full and reverse swinging in late, would have accounted for most.

“It’s obviously not ideal conditions for the fast bowlers, with the run-ups,” said Finch. “It can make it quite tough. They’d probably be mindful, going up to a Test match, trying not to overwork him in conditions like that. I thought his spell with the old ball was outstanding – reverse swing – and the ball that knocked Fergie over was probably ball of the day.”

England came out of the day ahead and perhaps more sanguine about Jonny Bairstow keeping wicket in the opening Test if Matt Prior fails to recover from his calf injury. Bairstow did nothing spectacular but he did most of his work neatly and compactly.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss