Cricket - New-look Finn ready for Test challenge

England are ready to unleash Steven Finn on New Zealand's Test batsmen off his new, improved short run.

PA Sport
Cricket - New-look Finn ready for Test challenge

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Steven Finn will bowl off a new 12-stride approach in the first Test

While the Kiwis were blown off course in windy Dunedin by a mysterious foot injury for one of Finn's opposite numbers Doug Bracewell, England are intent on putting behind them a surprise warm-up defeat against New Zealand's second string.

New Zealand Cricket management will liaise with the players' association to ascertain exactly how their frontline seamer came to gash his foot on a piece of glass either during or after a party at home in Napier over the weekend.

England merely need to complete their preparations for the first of three Tests, in the hope that the return of Finn and James Anderson - both rested against a New Zealand XI in Queenstown - can help them to victory.

Finn has taken much persuading over the past three years to cut down his run, but took the plunge in back-to-back one-day international victories over New Zealand last month - and was rewarded with aggregate figures of four for 60.

The theory is that the 6ft 8in fast bowler's new 12-stride approach will eradicate a speed wobble as he nears the stumps, and stop him knocking the bails off with his knee - a habit which has already cost him two international wickets and resulted in an imminent change in the Laws of Cricket.

From October at the latest - sooner if the International Cricket Council choose to alter their playing conditions in accordance with the MCC's ruling - any bowler who dislodges the stumps in delivery at the non-striker's end will be called for a no-ball rather than dead-ball.

An extra runs penalty would therefore be incurred, so England are doing all they can to try to avoid the further consequences of 'Finn's Law'. It is still unproven whether his shortened run will ensure that, or aid his bowling more generally, but the evidence from two matches so far is encouraging enough for Finn to try his new method for the first time in Test cricket this week.

"That's the plan," he said. "Obviously, I've got the old run to go back to if I need it.

"But it felt good in the one-day series. I bowled with it in practice every day, and it feels good. We'll see what happens in the Test matches, but my first over will be off the shorter run."

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