Aaron Finch proved his worth for Australia in Perth. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Aaron Finch proved his worth for Australia in Perth. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Faith in Finch proves a top call

Aaron Finch may not be the finished product as an opener but at least he's been given the chance to finish the job.

Australian coach Justin Langer and captain Tim Paine deserve credit for sticking with their instincts about Finch at the top of the order when everyone else was telling them they were wrong and he should be moved down.

It was a call as strong as it was brave and one that can help stabilise a dressing room in unstable times.

Finch survived some nervous moments early and the jury is still out on whether he can be a long-term opener at Test level.

But his fighting 50 off 105 balls was a huge confidence-booster for the right-hander and a positive sign that Australia aren't jumping at shadows - no matter how large they might loom.

Finch spent time practising with the middle-order in the lead-up to the second Test, but skipper Paine declared at the toss that moving him down was never a serious consideration.

 

Finch hit fifty in a strong showing on day one. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Finch hit fifty in a strong showing on day one. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

 

During his first series in charge in England earlier this year, Langer chopped and changed his batting order and toyed with different plans - which included Finch's place in the line-up.

But at Test level, Langer has recognised Finch as an opener from the outset and refused to yield.

It still doesn't mean it will be a permanent thing - Finch could be in the middle-order by the end of the summer - but even by backing him in for this Test sends a strong message to the dressing room.

Australia were acutely aware how difficult the Perth Stadium pitch was going to play and that the pace, bounce and seam would severely test a player who averages 18 as a first-class opener.

 

Tim Paine and Justin Langer showed plenty of faith in their under-fire opener. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Tim Paine and Justin Langer showed plenty of faith in their under-fire opener. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

 

Multiple ex-players - some of them Langer's closest mates have expressed a belief Finch is better suited in the middle-order and even Finch's own State have made it clear they don't see him as an opener.

Langer could easily be forgiven for living from one match to the next given the lack of depth he has at his disposal with Steve Smith and David Warner suspended and reacting.

Few would have blamed him.

But as hard as it is, Langer showed his dressing room with the Finch decision that he wants to set some foundations for the long haul.

 

Many called for Finch to be dropped down the order. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Many called for Finch to be dropped down the order. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

 

That backing someone in isn't a flash in the pan.

Langer and Test great Ricky Ponting worked intensely with Finch in the nets on match eve and were flooding him with positive reinforcement.

Finch was clearly rattled in Adelaide as he failed in both innings - but the message from Australia to their experienced rookie has been simple.

"We encourage all players to back their strengths," said Tim Paine.

"Finchy knows the best way he goes about his batting and he's just got to keep him on track and make sure he keeps trying to do that. If he does, he'll come good for us."

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