Wickets tumble in dramatic opening day of Ashes series

Pace man Steven Finn was delighted to play a key role in England’s fightback against Australia on a frenetic opening day of the Ashes series.

Despite winning the toss on a cloudy day at Trent Bridge, Alastair Cook’s decision to bat first looked a curious one after his side were bowled out for a meagre 215.

However, Finn took the wickets of Shane Watson and Ed Cowan in the space of two balls before agonisingly missing out on a hat-trick after Michael Clarke somehow failed to edge an excellent delivery from the Middlesex man.

Team-mate James Anderson bowled Australia’s captain shortly after with a terrific ball that had Clarke beaten all ends up and then accounted for Chris Rogers as the tourists closed on 70 for four to leave the match firmly in the balance.

Finn admitted his disappointment at seeing England’s batsmen come up short, but was happy as they came roaring back towards the close of play.

“We definitely would have liked to have got more runs on the board having won the toss, but that fightback at the end to get four wickets in that last session leaves us in a strong position moving forward into tomorrow,” he said.

“We lost wickets at important times and we knew we had to come out this evening and put in a strong performance.

“Winning the toss and batting first, we would have liked to have got more runs on the board, but a few partnerships in there got us to where we were then the last 20 overs worked in our favour.”

Finn was also quick to pay tribute to Anderson, whose dismissal of Clarke took him past Fred Truman and into third in England’s all-time list of Test wicket-takers.

“He’s been a magician for some time now and it’s a testament to how hard he works and the hours that he puts in to developing new skills that he does things like that,” added Finn.

“He’s a great man to have in the dressing room to learn off and it’s even better to have him at mid-off when you’re out there bowling.”

On a day for bowlers, it was Australia’s Peter Siddle, however, who came to the fore again.

In the 2010-11 series, the relentless seamer took a hat-trick on his birthday in Brisbane and yesterday bounced back after conceding 27 runs in his first four overs to finish with figures of five for 50 to put England under the cosh.

“I probably didn’t start off as I would have liked in my first four overs, but after that I did my job and came out with five, which was handy,” he said.

“A bit slow in the morning, for us anyway, and then we slowly got into our business and then that last session and a little bit, wickets came.”

The 28-year-old believes the first hour of today’s play will be important as Australia’s batsmen look to steady the ship after a dramatic final session.

“The first hour’s going to be tough, it’s going to be crucial for us to dig in there and hopefully we’re still four down by the first drinks and we’ll see where we go from there,” he added.


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