ENGLAND are crossing their fingers that Stuart Broad is able to reclaim his place in the bowling attack this morning as they look to build a lead following a frenetic first day of the Ashes.
The series got under way in captivating fashion as England were bowled out for a disappointing 215, only to strike back to the tune of 75 for four in the evening session.
Seamer Steven Finn split those wickets with James Anderson after Broad suffered a blow on the right shoulder while batting and was unable to take the field. England are uncertain as to the extent of the injury, but Finn knows that a fit Broad will make their job of eking out a first-innings advantage much easier.
“He got hit on the shoulder and he’s a bit sore,” said Finn. “The extent of the damage I don’t know. We’re hopeful he’ll be fit. (If not) I’ll have to bowl a few more overs I think and we’ll just have to rotate ourselves. At the moment we don’t know the extent of Broady’s damage.”
Asked to assess the state of the game after a day, albeit one that contained enough action for at least twice that long, Finn added: “I think it’s pretty even...maybe we have our noses ahead, but it’s a very tight battle at the moment. To be bowled out for 215 after winning the toss was something we hadn’t hoped for, but we are in that position now and to have them four down was a good result.
“The first hour (today)is important in terms of how we set the tone as bowlers and how we come out and attack the Australians. A few wickets in the first hour and we could put our noses in front.”
Finn certainly appeared capable of that, snaring Shane Watson and Ed Cowan with successive deliveries before a superb delivery to Michael Clarke almost sealed the hat-trick. His new ball partner James Anderson, who moved clear of Fred Trueman in third place on England’s all time wicket-taker list, also took two. He dismissed Clarke with a delivery destined for the Ashes hall of fame, one that moved in the air and off the pitch before clipping the top of off stump.
Finn, like the rest of the 17,100 fans crammed into Trent Bridge, was left in awe.
“We’ve seen him do that a few times, with absolute magic balls and that’s testament to the amount of work he puts in and how he keeps developing his skills that he can do things like that,” said the Middlesex seamer. “It’s great when something like that comes off in a game and to get the Australia captain with a ball like that was something exceptional for us.
“Hopefully he can do it a few more times.”