London, June 12: Former Australia white-ball skipper Aaron Finch believes seamer Scott Boland is a certainty to play the first Ashes Test at the Edgbaston from Friday, citing his superb performance in the recently-concluded World Test Championship Final. Boland played a key role in Australia bowling out India for 234 on day five at The Oval, taking Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja out in quick succession to set the base for a 209-run victory, as the seamer took five wickets overall in the match. He was selected in the WTC final playing eleven over Michael Neser with Josh Hazlewood unavailable due to injuries. Jack Leach, England Spinner, Ruled Out of Ashes 2023 With Back Stress Fracture.
With little clarity on Hazlewood's availability for the Edgbaston Test, Finch thinks Boland is a certainty for the highly-anticipated Ashes opener. "He was outstanding, I think he's well and truly sewn up that third quick spot in the first Test."
"I'm not sure of Josh Hazlewood's injury return I guess, he's had a couple of niggles that keep hanging around for him, so Scott Boland will definitely (play at Edgbaston)," he was quoted as saying by SEN Radio.
Finch, the 2021 Men's T20 World Cup winning captain, also credited a first-innings partnership of 285 runs between Steve Smith (121) and Travis Head (163) on day one's play as the main reason for Australia clinching the coveted mace.
"What an achievement to be crowned World Test Champions. I think Travis Head and Steve Smith's partnership was the difference in the game, but that's just something Steve Smith does. When he turns up to England he seems to walk out and get 100s at will. It was a brilliant performance and I'm very happy for the team."
India captain Rohit Sharma called for the WTC final to be decided in a three-match series. But Finch disagrees with his view. "I think it's just the reality of the scheduling and the time constraints on fixtures at the moment."
"I've got no issues with it, I think if it's drawn out over three Tests, what happens if a team gets annihilated? It becomes a bit of a waste of time. We all play sport for the wins and the losses I don't have any issue with it at all."
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 12, 2023 03:28 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).