There are slumps and there are slumps at stumps, but Aaron Finch at least made a move in a positive direction, a move that may signal an end to the misery that has seen him averaging a paltry 11.85 from his last seven ODI innings.
He made 37 off 53 balls in Nagpur and careful observers noted that his confidence seemed to grow as he stood in the crease and found his groove that ultimately may find him remaining a part of the side.
An average of 11.85 and 37 is not the sort of productivity one would prefer from an opener and Finch last passed 45 in ODI cricket in June of 2018, when he made a century against England.
The most positive aspect of Finch’s most recent performance was seeing off India’s seamers, including Jasprit Bumrah, who seemingly has found Finch’s Achilles’ heel with inswinging deliveries that have proven of late to be an effective tactic against the Australian opener.
The glass half-full set noted that Finch might have gained some time to avoid being moved down or dropped entirely.
“Much better from Aaron Finch tonight,” former Australia opener Matthew Hayden said in commentary.
Even the curmudgeonly Shane Warne supplied measured praise via social media, posting on Twitter to his 3.42 million followers, “I think tonight will be the night Aaron Finch turns the corner and finds his form as class is permanent and form is temporary. Finch is an excellent captain and if Australia are to win the World Cup, they need Finch as skipper and in form.”
All Australian cricket fans would like to see the Finch of old and may view his result in the second ODI with India as a sign of positive progress, but if he could have turned that 37 into a 46, the three-day ODI series would be tied instead of heading to Ranchi for a dead rubber.