STEVEN Finn is relishing the chance to banish his Australian demons after turning in a five-star performance at the Gabba.
Little more than a year ago Finn was losing his way completely Down Under as he struggled with his action and his confidence during a nightmare Ashes trip.
And it was here in Brisbane that things reached their nadir, with Finn sent home early from the tour after then coach Ashley Giles deemed him “unselectable”.
But those harrowing days – and the gradual journey back – were put to one side as he claimed career-best ODI figures of five for 33 against Tri-Series rivals India, setting England on course for a handsome nine-wicket win.
Finn’s steepling bounce was the decisive factor as India rolled over for 153, a total Ian Bell (88no) and James Taylor (56no) knocked off with ease.
“Obviously a lot has happened in the last 12 months and it’s pretty much a year to the day that I went home from that tour of Australia,” he recalled, with a smile. But that corner’s been turned and I feel like I turned it a little while ago. All that stuff’s in the past now.
“To take five wickets was obviously very pleasing after the work I’ve put in, but I don’t want to look back now, just forward.”
It will be hard for the paceman to forget completely about his previous travails, with plenty of reminders on hand during the current series and the World Cup to come. But the prospect holds no fear now.
“To come here and be in the same hotels and get over those hurdles has been fun,” he said.
“I’m enjoying my time in Australia and to take wickets is obviously very good.
“There are a few bad memories knocking around in the places we’re travelling to but this will help relax me. I’m happy with where I’m at now.”
Finn’s efforts, not to mention four wickets from the fit-again James Anderson and an effortlessly classy innings by Bell, handed Eoin Morgan a first win since taking over the captaincy from Alastair Cook.
And Morgan was keen to praise his Middlesex team-mate for leading the charge.
“If nothing else over the last 12 months, we’ve put together some outstanding individual performances – and today was no different with Steve,” he said.
“He found some rhythm early, and managed to take advantage of that steep bounce he gets.
“He’s come a long way over the last two years. For him to produce performances like the ones I’ve seen at Middlesex throughout his whole career makes me very proud.’’
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, whose day went downhill from the moment he won the toss and asked England to field, was disappointed with his under-performing top six.
“I don’t think we batted well, especially after choosing to bat,” he said.
“The wicket was a bit two-paced to start off and our batsmen did not really play well. We needed to build partnerships, but that did not happen.
“If a ball is there to hit, you should, but if it needs to be defended, you should watch out.”