With his beanpole frame hunched on his knees, Steven Finn exhaled loudly. He held the pose for a couple more minutes, receiving pats on his back from the rest of the England Lions players. The lanky pacer then collected his hat from the umpire and he was off.
This was Finn's first full day in office in close to a month. And on a hot day at the DY Patil Stadium in Nerul, the 23-year-old Middlesex pacer delivered 16 overs in four separate spells of four overs each. He bowled off his full run-a lengthy one that almost starts from the edge of the boundary-and was quick, menacing at times, and got the ball to bounce past the batsmen's noses on a number of occasions.
Eventually he finished with figures of 4/50, a wicket in his first over, two in one over in his second spell and the fourth off the first ball after the tea-break. Finn was head and shoulders above the rest of the England Lions pacers-which included England's Test squad members Stuart Meaker and Graham Onions-with the ball, and also struck one of the DY Patil Sports Academy XI batsman on his hand, getting him caught down the leg-side by the wicket-keeper.
In his first outing since he hobbled off from the Brabourne Stadium with a thigh-strain, Finn looked at his pacy best. And his performance on Tuesday should have given the English camp, still rejoicing a monumental series-leveling win at the Wankhede Stadium, another reason to cheer. There was no official quote on whether Finn would be fit to play the third Test at Kolkata though.
"This is a fitness trial in a match situation. Steven's being monitored here since the last few days. He's bowled four spells of four overs each. If he can pass this trial then he will be fit for the third Test," said a team official.
Finn was in and out of the field while he wasn't bowling on Tuesday. Though he did spend some time in the outfield, he was mainly positioned at slip for the spinners.
The intermittent spells didn't seem to have a negative effect on Finn. And what must have been very relieving for the English team management is that he never felt his thigh even once while bowling.
England's quickest bowler also made a brief appearance during the tea-break, bowling eight balls at full tilt at a single stump before commencing his