Broad blow opens the door for Finn to impress further

ENGLAND bowler Steven Finn is relishing the opportunity to take on added responsibility in the absence of Stuart Broad.

The 21-year-old Finn has bowled with impressive control in, this, his debut Ashes tour and is currently the joint leading wicket-taker in the series with Graeme Swann.

The Middlesex seamer has nine Aussie scalps to his name and the tour-ending abdominal injury suffered by Broad will mean an enhanced workload for Finn, who is confident he can handle the burden.

He said: “I enjoy responsibility. Stuart has been an outstanding bowler for England in the last three years so to lose someone like him is a big loss, but it’s important we try and fill his boots as best as we can.

“There’s still bits I can improve on, very much so. To take wickets has been nice and to get important wickets has been nice as well and I’m glad I am contributing to the team.

“I’m playing in the hardest fought series I’ve ever played in. To play against Bangladesh and Pakistan was testing at times but against Australia in their own back yard is testing all the time.”

Broad’s untimely injury will force England’s selection committee into an uncharacteristically overdue first tough decision of the tour.

Chris Tremlett (inset) appears to be the front-runner having made life uncomfortable for Australia A’s top order last month.

His Test career has been curtailed by injury, but a move to Surrey last year coincided with his best ever county figures, and at 6ft 7in, of the men vying to replace Broad, he is best equipped to extract extra bounce from a fast Perth track.

Tim Bresnan is a handy first change bowler and by performing with distinction in Bangladesh earlier this year, he demonstrated an ability to bowl long spells in oppressive conditions. He’s certainly the best batsman of the three men hoping to step into Broad’s shoes, but with the top six all in such good form, reinforcing the tail is unlikely to be the selectors’ main concern.

Of the three hopefuls, Ajmal Shahzad would represent the bravest selection. He’s the youngest of the group, but is highly rated by the coaching staff and has the key ability to reverse the old ball. The triumvirate will get the chance to impress against Victoria, starting tomorrow. May the best man win.


THE ALL-ROUNDER |
THE GOSSIP FROM DOWN UNDER

WARNe ORDERS a BEER
It would be understandable if legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne was ordering some alcoholic refreshment in order to dull the pain of Australia’s hammering in Adelaide. But on this occasion, Warne has been calling for the Test selectors to take a gamble on West Australian tweaker Michael Beer for the third Test. The tall left-arm spinner took a career-best 5-207 in a tour match against England last month at the WACA.

IS THE COMEBACK ON?
Speaking of Warne, the momentum behind his potential comeback is gathering pace. The 41-year-old retired in 2007, but such has been the toothless nature of this current Aussie attack that the clamour for him to make a one-off return continues to grow. Warne, himself, added fuel to the fire yesterday and refused to rule out a return. He said: “There has been a bit written about making a comeback. It is very flattering to hear those words.”

AN OPPONENT FOR AUDLEY? 
Audley Harrison claims he’s ready to box on, and maybe the notoriously punch-shy Olympic champion should look no further than 67-year-old former Aussie skipper Ian Chappell as his next opponent. Chappell and Ian Botham, who haven’t spoken for over 30 years, were reportedly pulled apart after exchanging pleasantries in the Adelaide Oval car park this week. But like Harrison, Chappell claimed: “There were words but I was never going to throw a punch at anybody.”