Back-to-basics approach pays off for Finch in Australia World Cup stroll

London (AFP) –


Aaron Finch talked of the mental and technical struggles he faced after confirming his return to top form with a decisive innings of 153 in Australia's World Cup win over Sri Lanka on Saturday.

The Australia captain equalled his best one-day international score with a blistering 132-ball masterclass at the Oval, dismantling the Sri Lanka attack as Australia piled up 334-7 before dismissing Sri Lanka for 247 to win by 87 runs.

It was a cathartic moment for Finch, who revealed he underwent a period of soul-searching after a poor run of form over the past year.

"I started to doubt my game in the Australian summer. There were a lot of times when I was questioning every single decision I was making, technical and mental," Finch said.

"You are looking for an answer. It can be really tough at times when you are searching for that.

"It was a really good learning process for me. But I would have liked to have had it at 22 rather than 32.

"It was going back to the basics and changing my mindset to just be positive. If you get out at first slip or mid-on you are still out, so be yourself."

Finch began to snap out of his funk with some big scores in March, including an innings of 153 not out against Pakistan.

After equalling that score in difficult conditions on a cloudy day at the Oval, the modest batsman conceded it was satisfying to deliver a big score in an important victory.

"Winning the game is far more important than a personal milestone, but it was nice to get past 100 and kick on," he said.

"My technique has probably tightened up slightly. It's nice to get the reward for doing the work."

Finch paid tribute to Australia assistant coach Ricky Ponting for his role in getting his game back on track.

- 'Great leaders' -

"Ricky has been great, for all the players, not just myself. He has been brilliant around the group," Finch said of the former Australia captain.

"He puts a lot of work in. It's great to have him around, no doubt.

"We've got some great leaders in our squad, which really helps out. I would say my influence is minimal.

"It's more about everyone buying into the culture. It's a good environment to be in at the moment."

With four wins from their first five group matches, Australia are in a good position to reach the semi-finals as they bid to retain the trophy.

Their only defeat so far came against India and they are gradually coming into peak form.

Finch believes they will benefit from a few days' rest after a hectic schedule before returning to action against Bangladesh on June 20.

Hosts England remain the tournament favourites after their own strong start, with a clash against Australia looming as a pivotal group match on June 25.

"We would have taken this position at the start of the tournament. We are happy where we are sitting," Finch said. "It's not realistic to expect to win every game in conditions like this.

"Now it's time to sit back and assess where we can improve to be standing on that Lord's balcony (in the final) on July 14."