Finch made 78 as Australia beat Sussex by 57 runs in their tour opener at Hove, one of two warm-up matches ahead of the five-match clash that begins at the Oval on Wednesday.
The Sussex match was Australia’s first since the ball-tampering controversy in South Africa earlier in the year. Former Australia captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner received year-long bans for their roles in the Cape Town Test saga, while Cameron Bancroft – who applied sandpaper to the ball – was suspended for nine months.
Apart from the unavailable Smith and Warner, Australia are without injured fast-bowling trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.
“There’s a lot of excitement around, any time you bring young guys into the squad for their first or second tour, it brings a lot of energy around the group,” Finch said on Friday ahead of their warm-up match against Middlesex on Saturday.
Finch, named vice-captain in the absence of Warner, said inclusion of talented bowlers like Jhye Richardson and Kane Richardson will help Australia ahead of the 2019 World Cup in England.
“Our one-day cricket hadn’t been that great over the last 18 months to two years, so who knows, if we give these young guys a few opportunities, they can do some wonderful things,” he explained.
2018 Aboriginal XI squads had mixed results on Thursday at The Oval as part of their 1868 commemoration tour with the women’s squad going down to Surrey by 36 runs before the men’s squad survived a late fightback to defeat the Surrey XI by five runs.
In the women’s match Surrey got off to a flyer thanks largely to Bryony Smith who smashed 11 boundaries on her way to 58 off just 32 deliveries.
However, an economical spell from Haylee Hoffmeister combined with two wickets each to captain Ashleigh Gardner and young gun Zoe Fleming kept the game in the balance with Surrey finishing their 20 overs on 6-149.
In reply the loss of Sara Darney and Gardner in the first two overs left the Aboriginal XI with a mountain to climb. Hannah Darlington (32) and Emma Manix-Geeves (21) continued to attack and for a brief period in the middle overs kept their side in the game.
However, once they departed the run rate became too much and they fell short by 36 runs.
After a slow start for the men’s squad, Bankstown Cricket Club’s Brendan Smith put on a clinic at one of the world’s most famous venues smashing 61 off just 24 deliveries that included eight 4s and four 6s.
His knock was well supported by Dan Christian (29) and Jonte Pattison (37). Ben Patterson also chimed in with an important 20 off 10 balls including launching a ball out of the venue as the Aboriginal XI finished 8-176.
Surrey kept the runs ticking along slowing throughout the chase and despite the required run rate blowing out to over 18 an over they maintained enough wickets in hand for a late surge. That surge came courtesy of Ben McDermott whose 67 off 49 breathed life into the contest.
An inside look as the Aussie ODI players were joined by the Aboriginal XI squads at Lord's during the week to reflect on the significance of the 1868 tour of England. pic.twitter.com/yZ4UYzdGT8— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) June 8, 2018
Needing 26 off the last two overs Scott Boland restricted Surrey to just six runs in the second last over allowing Brendon Doggett to close out the match and claim a five-run win.
On Friday both sides take on Sussex at the Country Ground, Hove 150 years to the day that the same fixture was played on that ground in 1868.
Fixtures and Results
Aboriginal XI Men
5th June – Aboriginal XI def Marylebone CC by 21 runs @ Arundel Castle
5th June – Aboriginal XI def Marylebone CC by 6 wickets @ Arundel Castle
7th June – Aboriginal XI def Surrey by 5 runs @ The Kia Oval
8th June – Aboriginal XI v Sussex @ The First Central County Ground
10th June – Aboriginal XI v Derbyshire @ 3aaa County Ground
12th June – Aboriginal XI v Nottinghamshire @ Trent Bridge
Aboriginal XI Women
7th June – Aboriginal XI lost to Surrey by 36 runs @ The Kia Oval
8th June – Aboriginal XI v Sussex @ The First Central County Ground
10th June – Aboriginal XI v National Cricket Conference @ 3aaa County Ground
12th June – Aboriginal XI v ECB Academy @ Trent Bridge
Marcus Stoinis’ century guided Australia to an underwhelming 57-run victory over Sussex as they returned to action for the first time since March’s ball-tampering scandal.
Stoinis pressed his claims for Australia’s number three slot for the five-match one-day series against England by blasting a pivotal 110 at Hove.
A tepid Australia performance will have frustrated new head coach Justin Langer and skipper Tim Paine however, with Sussex’s inaccurate batting blowing the chance for a famous victory.
Cameron Bancroft – who doctored a ball with sandpaper amid South Africa’s 322-run win in Cape Town – was also banned for nine months by Cricket Australia. Head coach Darren Lehmann quit amid the furore.
Australia will now use the upcoming England series as a charm offensive to curry favour after March’s ill-tempered Tests with South Africa, and this south coast warm-up clash passed by without controversy – but also with precious little top-drawer action.
Stoinis’ 110 guided Australia to a modest 277 for nine from their full allocation, the tourists fading to a coasting pace after a fast start.
Aaron Finch hit 78 at the top of the innings, before a middle-order wobble dented progress. Langer’s side lost four wickets for just 13 runs in 31 balls as Sussex finally found something approaching purchase in the field.
D’Arcy Short fell first, leg before to Danny Briggs, after notching 21 from 27 balls.
Australia turned that 74 for one into 167 for two as Finch took centre stage, only to depart just as he started to eye a ton, caught behind miscuing a pull off Jofra Archer.
Stoinis then kept his head while multiple partners threw away their wickets, Glenn Maxwell caught by Evans from Luke Evans’ bowling for just one run.
Briggs trapped Travis Head leg before for two, before skipper Paine was caught and bowled by Wells on the same score.
Ashton Agar was run out on 21, while Michael Neser edged behind off Chris Jordan.
Stoinis finally departed on 110 with Laurie Evans holding firm off Jordan’s bowling, with Archer then removing Jhye Richardson for 11.
Sussex’s reply started with calamity, Luke Wells run out with just one run on the board. Phil Salt refused a second run, but Wells reached the opposite crease before the run out was completed.
Short dropped Salt twice without score, and the Sussex star latched onto the second reprieve to blast to 53 in 33 balls – only to depart on 62, clean bowled by Kane Richardson.
Harry Finch notched 45 before being caught and bowled by Agar, and then Stoinis skittled Michael Burgess for six, with Sussex 139 for four.
Captain Ben Brown started brightly only to throw his wicket away too, miscuing a sweep to fall prey to Agar leg before for 17.
Laurie Evans hit his second six to reach 52 in 58 balls, only for David Wiese to depart for just three runs caught behind off Neser’s bowling. That left the hosts 192 for six in the 37th over.
Evans was stumped for 57, then Jordan run out for five. Andrew Tye clean bowled Archer for 10, then Abi Sakande had his stumps uprooted by Jhye Richardson.