Steven Finn’s ‘proven record’ earns England place for third Test against Pakistan
England have recalled fast bowler Steven Finn for the third Test against Pakistan at Edgbaston, captain Alastair Cook said on Tuesday.
Finn, who has taken 120 wickets in 33 Tests at an average of under 30, is set to replace the injured Ben Stokes.
All-rounder Stokes has been ruled out after damaging his calf in England’s 330-run win in the second Test at Old Trafford that levelled the four-match series at 1-1.
Cook said there was still a slim chance England could play two spinners, by giving a home debut to leg-break bowler Adil Rashid in support of off-spinner Moeen Ali, if there was a marked change in pitch conditions between Tuesday and Wednesday’s toss at Edgbaston.
But with rain falling from grey skies above Edgbaston on Tuesday, Cook indicated that England would likely go in with an attack of four seamers plus Ali.
England also had the option of selecting Nottinghamshire quick Jake Ball, who made his Test debut in Pakistan’s 75-run win in the series opener at Lord’s, Finn’s first wicketless Test.
Finn and Ball made way for James Anderson, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, and Stokes at Old Trafford.
“Finny is coming in for Ben Stokes, and as we were,” Cook said.
“Unless the pitch changes a lot from what I saw yesterday (Monday) -- we still have the right to change — we’ll be going with the four seamers and one spinner.
“It was a tough call — as I found out at two o’clock (5am UAE) this morning when I was wide awake thinking about it.
“We’ve gone for a guy who’s got a proven Test record, who’s taken 120 wickets and has a knack of taking wickets.”
Middlesex paceman Finn took a Test-best 6-79 against Australia at Edgbaston last year
“He has good memories here of last year,” Cook said. “He hasn’t quite been at his best this year — there have been a few factors in that, (but) physically he’s now better and has had a couple of things sorted out in the last week.
“We all saw the other day down at Middlesex, playing Essex, that his pace is back up again.
“You could have argued for Jake, and telling him was a tough call, but we’ve gone for a guy who has a very good Test record — giving him another go.”
England team: Alastair Cook (captain), Alex Hales, Joe Root, James Vince, Gary Ballance, Jonny Bairstow (wkt), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, James Anderson
Pakistan (probable): Mohammad Hafeez, Sami Aslam, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (wkt), Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Yasir Shah, Rahat Ali
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Published: August 2, 2016 04:00 AM