Tag Archives: dunedin

Steven Finn puts in mature display as nightwatchman

Finn curbs his instincts to deliver one of the great nightwatchman innings in Dunedin

By
Ian Prince

PUBLISHED:

07:01 GMT, 10 March 2013

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UPDATED:

09:55 GMT, 10 March 2013

As Steven Finn made his way to the University Oval this morning, he discussed the day ahead with a member of England's support staff.

The conversation went something like this: 'How are you feeling'

'Good,' said the fast bowler. 'I know I need to bat a long time but there's this little devil on my shoulder telling me to play some shots.'

Assured: Steven Finn put in a mature performance at the crease and hit 56 runs in Dunedin

Assured: Steven Finn put in a mature performance at the crease and hit 56 runs in Dunedin

'Don't listen to it,' came the sensible reply.

Finn did just that, curbing his inner devil to help save this first Test and put New Zealand's bowlers through hell in Dunedin as he produced one of the great nightwatchman innings in the history of English cricket.

Before he took guard on the fourth evening following the dismissal of his captain Alastair Cook, Finn had batted a combined total of 291 minutes across 20 previous Test innings. By the time he was out in the second over after tea today, he had batted for 286.

In one knock he'd managed to cram in almost his entire Test batting career to date.

It was the second longest innings by an England nightwatchman, bettered only by the 306 minutes Jack Russell spent at the crease in a losing cause against the West Indies in Bridgetown, Barbados, in 1990. Russell, who batted at seven and finished his career with two Test centuries, is lucky to be classed as a nightwatchman given his pedigree with the bat.

Finn had little before this match, making his achievement even greater. His score, 56, was his highest in first-class cricket, beating the 32 he made against Essex at Lord's in 2011. His previous Test best was the 20 he managed in the first innings here.

Not since Alex Tudor's 99 against New Zealand at Edgbaston in 1999 has an England nightwatchman made more.

While much has been made of Finn's express pace – it is thought he could develop into England's first 100mph bowler – it is his presence in the dressing-room which has made a big impression on director of cricket Andy Flower in recent months.

And we're off: Finn substituted risky shots for sensible batting to help England draw the Test

And we're off: Finn substituted risky shots for sensible batting to help England draw the Test

And we're off: Finn substituted risky shots for sensible batting to help England draw the Test

At just 23 years of age, he is said by insiders within the camp to be an increasingly influential voice, keen to take on more responsibility.

Given his age, some have tipped him to one day take over the Test captaincy from Cook, five years his senior.

It was that willingness to take on responsibility which came to the fore on day five in Dunedin. When he started his epic knock yesterday, England were 231 for one, still 62 runs behind New Zealand's first innings total.

When he was eventually out early in the evening session today, trapped lbw by spinner Bruce Martin, his side were 93 runs ahead.

He had batted for 33 overs, more than an entire session, and it's fair to say that without Finn's dogged contribution, England would have not saved this match.

Graham Onions, Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar have gone down in folklore for their tailend defiance, the former saving two Test matches in South Africa in 2009/10 and the latter pair famously denying the Australians victory in the opening Test of the 2009 Ashes in Cardiff.

Gotcha: Finn was eventually bowled out lbw shortly after securing his half century

Gotcha: Finn was eventually bowled out lbw shortly after securing his half century

Happy: Both Finn (pictured) and Jonathan Trott made strides to help England avoid defeat

Happy: Both Finn (pictured) and Jonathan Trott made strides to help England avoid defeat

But Finn showed even more grit, at one point on the final afternoon digging in for 49 balls without scoring. In total he went 72 minutes without a run during a session in which he accumulated just 14.

He may have made Nick Compton look like Chris Gayle but the self-control and discipline he showed in curbing the devil inside his head shows what strong stuff mentally Finn is made of.

After the match, Cook confirmed Finn will now take nightwatchman duties away from the previous incumbent James Anderson permanently.

Following a display like this, it appears a wise choice.

Steven Finn and Jonathan Trott help England draw first Test with New Zealand

Finn and Trott help save first Test as England bat their way to a draw in Dunedin

By
Paul Newman

PUBLISHED:

03:51 GMT, 10 March 2013

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UPDATED:

03:51 GMT, 10 March 2013

Steven Finn took a big stride down this lifeless Dunedin wicket ball after ball to repel New Zealand and rescue England from first Test embarrassment today in one of the great displays of nightwatchman defiance.

Not since Alex Tudor made an unbeaten 99 in England’s victory charge against New Zealand in 1999 at Edgbaston has a bowler doing a batsman’s job for England made such an impact as a nightwatchman.

It seemed an excessively cautious act by England to send Finn in ahead of Jonathan Trott when Alastair Cook was out with just over two overs left on the fourth day but far from just seeing his team through to the close the big fast bowler went on and on and on today.

Unlikely hero: Nightwatchman Steven Finn hit 50 as England drew the first Test

Unlikely hero: Nightwatchman Steven Finn hit 50 as England drew the first Test

Finn outlasted Nick Compton, Trott and Kevin Pietersen to score his first half-century in first-class cricket and go a long way towards earning England a draw that will feel like a great escape after they were humiliated for an abject 167 in their first innings.

For whatever inexplicable reason England have again been slow starters in an overseas series but have got away with their first innings negligence here and will feel that they cannot bat as badly again at either Wellington or Auckland.

They owe much of that to Finn. If the man preferred to Jimmy Anderson as nightwatchman got out early on the fifth day it is probable that England would have been on the end of one of the biggest upsets in recent Test history.

As it was they were made to battle all the way by a New Zealand side who pushed hard for what would have been one of their greatest modern wins, having England421 for six, a lead of 128, when both Brendon McCullum decided that enough was enough at the start of the last hour.

Such had been the quality of the start of England’s second innings, Compton and Cook putting on 231 for the first wicket, that England knew they just had to bat sensibly on what was effect a fourth day pitch to survive.

But Compton, who played what may turn out to be a career defining innings to record his maiden Test century on Saturday, could add only 15 to his overnight 102 before he was trapped lbw by the impressive and ever persevering Neil Wagner to give New Zealand hope.

That brought in Trott who had the rare experience of outscoring his partner as he moved smoothly along towards a fluent half-century, the only surprise coming when he was athletically caught by Wagner off his own bowling.

Kevin Pietersen, still looking rusty after his extended break from first-class cricket, arrived on a king pair but eased his first ball through midwicket for two. It could have been the cue to calm Pietersen down but he never looked comfortable before inside edging his new nemesis Wagner through to BJ Watling and departed for 12. England can only hope he is more fluent is the second Test which begins on Thursday.

When England had moved on to 382 for four at tea, a lead of 89, that seemed all but safe but the trouble was that they had scored too slowly to be out of New Zealand’s reach, only 53 runs coming in the middle session.

Certainly when Finn’s long vigil was over when he was trapped attempting to sweep the left-arm spinner Bruce Martin, after facing 203 balls for his 56, there was the hint of a twitch for England. When Joe Root was then run out without scoring the wobble was very much on.

But the bottom line was that this was a lifeless University Oval pitch, which made England’s first innings capitulation all the more inexplicable, and Ian Bell and Matt Prior were able to negotiate the remaining overs for England without alarm.

New Zealand will be able to hold their heads up high after this match. They went into the series seemingly in turmoil internally and with very few players of genuine Test-class. Yet in Neil Wagner they seem to have found a left-arm seamer with considerable enthusiasm and no little pace and in Hamish Rutherford they have found an opener who has started off in the best manner possible.

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that England, under-prepared after just one first-class warm-up match, were complacent here, even if it was sub-consciously, but they now know they are in a proper series.

The second Test follows in Wellington on Thursday and , after this experience, they will be backing themselves to do what they did in India and come back from a rotten first Test to win the series.

Steven Finn Watford football shirt

Finn when you're winning! England cricket star pays tribute to hometown club Watford on tour in New Zealand

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

00:50 GMT, 1 March 2013

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UPDATED:

08:09 GMT, 1 March 2013

Steven Finn can be forgiven for smiling.

Things have been going pretty well for the England bowler of late.

Not only has he forged a reputation for himself as one of the most feared pacemen in world cricket, but his beloved Watford are closing in on promotion back to the Barclays Premier League.

Golden boy: Finn proudly shows off his Watford shirt in Queenstown

Golden boy: Finn proudly shows off his Watford shirt in Queenstown

Finn, born and bred in the Hertfordshire town, has made no secret of his love for his hometown club and he proudly tweeted this picture of himself with a Hornets shirt with his name on the back while on tour with England in Queenstown, New Zealand.

The 23-year-old has been rested for
England's only warm-up match before the three-Test series starting next
week in Dunedin, where Finn is almost certain to join James Anderson and
Stuart Broad in England's pace attack.

By
then Watford, currently second in the Championship, could have moved another step closer to the
Premier League with fixtures against Wolves and Sheffield Wednesday
coming up.

Flying Finn: The Middlesex seamer starred in the ODI series and is expected to play a key role in the Tests

Flying Finn: The Middlesex seamer starred in the ODI series and is expected to play a key role in the Tests

Flying Finn: The Middlesex seamer starred in the ODI series and is expected to play a key role in the Tests

England release New Zealand 2013 cricket tour details

No time for rest with England to travel direct to New Zealand after India tour

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UPDATED:

16:49 GMT, 21 June 2012

England will travel straight from the tour of India to New Zealand next January after the schedule for their trip to the Antipodes was released.

England will meet the Black Caps in three Tests, three one-day internationals and as many Twenty20s in a two-month tour that represents their first trip to New Zealand since 2008.

Up and away: England will tour New Zealand from February next year

Up and away: England will tour New Zealand from February next year

ENGLAND TOUR OF NEW ZEALAND

February 4 – New Zealand XI v England, Cobham Oval, Whangarei (T20 warm-up)
Feb 6 – New Zealand XI v England, Cobham Oval, Whangarei (T20 warm-up)
Feb 9 – First Twenty20 International at Eden Park, Auckland
Feb 12 – Second Twenty20 International at Seddon Park, Hamilton
Feb 15 – Third Twenty20 International at Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Feb 17 – First ODI at Seddon Park, Hamilton
Feb 20 – Second ODI at McLean Park, Napier
Feb 23 – Third ODI at Eden Park, Auckland
Feb 27-March 2 – NZ XI v England, Queenstown Events Centre (four-day warm-up)
Mar 6-10 – First Test at University Oval, Dunedin
Mar 14-18 – Second Test at Hawkins Basin Reserve, Wellington
Mar 22-26 – Third Test at Eden Park, Auckland

England’s players will fly directly from their five-match ODI tour of India, which finishes in Chandigarh on January 27, before arriving in Auckland two days later.

The announcement ensures that England are due to play in every month until March next year.

After arriving in New Zealand, England’s players will have 11 days to prepare for the opening Twenty20 at Eden Park, with two warm-up matches scheduled in between.

Following the limited overs series, the first Test will start on March 6 at Dunedin’s University Park – the first time the venue has hosted an England Test since 1966.

The second Test is due to start in Wellington on March 14 before the tour returns to Auckland for the final match beginning on March 22.