Some extraordinary praise from Finch for Bilal


Australian Test debutant Aaron Finch said the Aussie batsmen prepared thoroughly for facing 33-year-old Pakistan debutant Bilal Asif but in the end all their preparation came to nothing on day three of the First Test in Dubai.

After Finch and fellow opener Usman Khawaja laid a great platform for the Australian innings with an opening stand of 140, Asif skittled the Aussie bats to take six wickets for 36 as Australia were rolled for just 202.

“There was a lot of video we watched,” said Finch, 31, after stumps. “We did a lot of research but watching it on a computer screen is very different to being out in a Test match environment facing him.”

“He’s very tall, gets over the top, and puts a lot of revs on the ball which was a challenge to start with and I think that he was very accurate as well.”

The key factor between Asif and fellow spinner Yasir Shah, who went wicketless, according to Finch was bounce.

“The difference between him (Asif) today was just the bounce,” the Australian said.

“He didn’t give us anything off the back foot which was probably the easiest to score on a wicket like that so it just felt like it was just his accuracy and his bounce that was probably the difference over all.”

“The bounce that Bilal was getting with the old ball was extraordinary. He bowled quality today and we’re going to have to come up with some quality plans in the second innings.”

Finch also paid credit to the overall Pakistan attack and how they were able to apply pressure just when Australia were getting on top.

“They squeezed hard for probably a 10-over period” explained Finch.

“The way that they finished before lunch – that twenty minutes before lunch and twenty minutes after lunch – was some real quality bowling.”

“They set some straight fields, they bowled straight with a little bit of reverse swing at one end and spin at the other. It was tough going, it was a real grind and credit to them.”

“As you know in the sub-continent on slow wickets like this the game flows.

“You can go through forty minutes of no runs and then the runs flow for fifteen minutes and they bring it back together.

“I thought that we were just about through that (tough period). So that was my bad for getting out right then when we were probably coming to the end of that little period and not going on and getting through it.”

In the end Finch was dismissed for a well-made 62 (off 161 balls) not by Asif but by paceman Mohammad Abbas, failing to get over an on-drive which was snapped up by Asad Shafiq at short mid-on.

Despite the collapse, Finch still believes Australia can get a positive result in the match.

“We’ve practiced hard and it was just unfortunate that didn’t show (today)” he said. “All the hard work we’ve done in the lead up.

“But we’re still really positive that we can come out and fight really hard in the back half of this game.

“Pakistan bowled beautifully (today). They bowled extremely well and put us under a lot of pressure.

“Once you get new batters at the crease in these conditions it can be really really tough. It’s something we’ve got to work on but I’m sure in the second innings we’ll fight as hard as we can.”