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Meaker: Finn close to returning
3:24pm Saturday 10th November 2012 in International
England appear increasingly confident Steven Finn will be fit for the start of their four-Test series against India.
Those who might conceivably be called in to replace the fast bowler, still recovering from a thigh strain, believe that Finn will be ready for selection for the first Test on Thursday.
Stuart Meaker and Tim Bresnan both took three wickets as England laboured long and hard to bowl Haryana out for 334 on the penultimate day of their final warm-up match at the Sardar Patel Stadium B Ground.
Jonathan Trott (61no) and Nick Compton (54no) then shared an opening stand of 118, to give England a lead of 305.
Meaker, called up last weekend as cover for Finn after the Middlesex bowler managed only four overs in the opening tour match against India A, accepts - even after his first first-class wickets for England - he is unlikely to be called into the Test team just yet.
But he offered an insight too into Finn's encouraging rate of recovery.
Endorsing Bresnan's assessment 24 hours earlier, Meaker made it clear that - after Finn yesterday bowled off his full run in the nets for the first time since injury struck - the 6ft 8in seamer is on track to return.
''Looking at how Steven Finn is going, he's getting closer and closer to being ready,'' said Meaker.
It seems now that, of England's two injured seamers, Finn is more likely to be fully-fit in time than Stuart Broad - who has been prescribed rest, and has therefore yet to put his bruised left heel to the test.
Irrespective of England's Test attack, one man sure to be in action against India next week is Compton - after his third successive half-century.
A Test debut beckons for the 29-year-old, as Alastair Cook's new opening partner, and Meaker said: ''I think it's a great chance for him to show what he's done in the county season.
''He's a very gifted batsman, and the runs speak for themselves in the county championship and out here.
''I think he'll do well for himself. But only he can decide how well he does in that first couple of games.
''It's great for him, and great to see the hard work he's put in during the county championship has paid off for him here.
''I'm really pleased for him that he's going to be given that chance to prove himself.''
As for his own unexpected call-up - Meaker was at home in England minding his own business this time last week - he is simply delighted to have been given the opportunity.
''It was a bit of a surprise phone call, I suppose,'' he said.
''It's never nice to hear it's because one of your fellow players has gone down through injury.
''But it's a great chance for me personally to show the guys what I've got - and luckily, I've shown them I can take a few wickets out here.''
Meaker knows he is still down the pecking order in England's first-choice attack.
''If I looked at the short term and thought only about this tour, I could get quite disheartened - knowing I could come here, play a game, take a few wickets and then perhaps get sent back to the EPP.
''But I look at it more long term, a great chance for me to show the new Test captain I can perform in these conditions - and that will bode well for a future Test call.
''I was nervous, because you wish you could come here on the back of a hot streak - having taken loads of county championship wickets - and blast on to the scene.
''Sometimes life just doesn't work like that. But I certainly haven't done myself any harm by taking a few wickets.
''Being called in is a great feeling for me, because I know it could potentially just be round the corner.''
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