ENGLAND seamer Steven Finn believes his team are in a strong position to win the first Ashes Test, after a late fightback spoiled Australia’s fine day in the field at Trent Bridge.
The home side built an overnight lead of 140 runs following a pulsating first day where 14 wickets fell.
Australia paceman Peter Siddle, who took six wickets on the opening day of the last Ashes series in 2010, claimed 5-50 as England slipped from 213-6 to 215 all-out batting first. Jonathan Trott’s innings of 48 proved one of few highlights for home fans.
But, in reply, two wickets apiece for Finn and James Anderson in the final session, including the prize scalp of captain Michael Clarke (0), left Australia toiling on 75-4 at the close.
And Finn believes England played themselves into a position to take control of the Test when the action resumes this morning with Steven Smith (38) and Phil Hughes (7) at the crease.
“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,” said Middlesex’s 24-year-old.
“We lost wickets at important times and we knew we had to come out in the 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.”
England captain Alastair Cook (13) won the toss, but may have regretted his decision to bat first after being Australia’s first victim of the series, off the bowling of James Pattinson (3-69).
Kevin Pietersen’s return to the crease after a lengthy lay-off with a knee injury was short lived.
The 33-year-old scored 14 runs before becoming one of Siddle’s five dismissals.
Stuart Broad hit a quickfire 24 of 30 balls, including five boundaries, but once he was out, caught and bowled, to Pattinson, England collapsed, losing their last four wickets in 14 balls and adding just two runs in the process.
Finn led the reply with the wickets of opener Shane Watson (13) and Ed Cowan (0) in successive balls.
Anderson claimed his 308th Test wicket to climb above Fred Trueman in the all-time standings to third place when he bowled Clarke.
And Anderson’s dismissal of Chris Rogers (16), lbw, ensured England resume today on the front foot.