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If there were any doubts about the smooth transition between the captaincy regimes of Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook, they should have been largely dispelled by the comments of Steven Finn ahead of the third ODI of the series between England and South Africa at the Oval.
While the end result of Tuesday’s ODI was a thumping win for South Africa, Finn made the perfectly reasonable point that the margins between the sides were perhaps not quite as big as might be presumed from the scorecard. England’s opening bowlers, Finn and James Anderson, beat the bat frequently in the early overs and might, with a little bit of luck, have claimed several early wickets.
“Amla had a couple of lives,” Finn said. “We could have had either him or Graeme Smith quite early. I thought we bowled well up front and we could have taken a couple of wickets, but it wasn’t to be. Amla is obviously in very good form at the moment and people are allowed to play well against us and we have to find a way to counteract that.”
As an opening bowler who has played a fair amount of county cricket in recent times, Finn might be expected to have well-informed views about the potential top-order replacement for Strauss in the Test team. While he was reluctant to be drawn on the issue, it was interesting to note the two names he mentioned: Nick Compton, who is enjoying a prolific season for Somerset, and Michael Carberry, who enjoyed a brief taste of Test cricket alongside Finn in 2010.
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