Finn bowls his way into contention for first Ashes Test with five-fer

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Middlesex paceman Steven Finn did his chances of staking a place in England’s starting line-up for the first Ashes Test no harm, by cleaning up the Invitational XI tail to claim five wickets in the tourists’ final warm-up match.

Although his final figures were not startling (5-103), Finn recovered very well from an indifferent opening day, to take three wickets in the morning session, including that of Peter Nevill for 83.

It was a particularly timely contribution from Finn, whose price to start the first Test in Brisbane has shrunk into 1/1, with previous favourite for the third-seamer spot, Chris Tremlett, drifting in the opposite direction to 11/10.

Meanwhile, Boyd Rankin chipped in with a wicket of his own, but remains very much the outsider to steal a starting berth at 6/1 with Ladbrokes.

Stuart Broad also warmed up for the Gabba in very promising fashion, finishing with prime figures of 4-37, where he bowled 10 maidens from 24 overs.

Broad’s first ball of the second day was a rip-snorting outswinger which denied Aussie bat Ryan Carters a maiden first-class century and this sort of display makes the 5/2 on England’s second strike bowler taking the most England wickets in the first Test a real tempter.

But, with Broad already guaranteed a spot in the starting XI, the second day belonged to Finn as far as the bowling was concerned, as the 6ft 7in seamer found the rhythm which had eluded him the day previous.

One man who was also impressed with Finn’s line and length was teammate Jonathan Trott.

Trott told reporters: “He (Steven Finn) bowled really well. Obviously Broady [Stuart Broad] was the stand out yesterday but Steven came back with a ball that was still a little bit newish and bowled really well.”

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