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June 15, 2019

Aaron Finch

Kennington, London, England, UK

Australia - 334/7 (50), Sri Lanka - 247 (45.5)

Q. Amazing knock today. Have you felt in better nick? There was a few comments around that you're not sharp enough. Have you felt as good as you have right now?
AARON FINCH: Oh, I think any time that you manage to get a few runs, you feel pretty good about your game. My technique's probably tightened up slightly. There's been a few technical things I've worked on that are just working at the moment. Sometimes, sometimes you change some things, but you don't get rewarded straightaway with the hard work you put in in the nets and behind the scenes.

So yeah, it's been nice to get a little bit of -- a little bit of positive reinforcement I think from my game.

Q. What effect has Ricky Ponting had on the time you've worked together so far in this tournament?
AARON FINCH: He's been great. He's been great for all the players, not just myself, not just the batters, everyone, he's been brilliant around the group. Sriram has been fantastic. I've worked with him quite a bit. Obviously J.L. a lot, as well.

I mean, there's days when you just have different access to different coaches, so you work with everyone equally. So it's not just because Pont is here, blokes are playing better. That might have a lot to do with it because he puts a lot of work in but all the coaches put a lot of work in.

But the answer to the question is, yeah, it's been great to have him around, no doubt.

Q. Australia has this history of captains, larger-than-life characters, but general, really speaking to people about you, they say, Aaron just keeps it simple. But how have you --
AARON FINCH: Makes me sounds pretty boring, doesn't it (smiling).

Q. It does, actually (laughter) but how have you fine your influence and style of captaincy of this team evolve over the last 12 months and leading into the World Cup?
AARON FINCH: That's a good question. I don't -- I don't tend to take on too much outside of the actual captain's duties. I mean, you do the -- you do all the planning as a group, the preparation, everything that you do is done as a group.

I think we've got some great leaders in our squad, as well, which really helps out; that everyone -- everyone acts and prepares and trains and looks after each other like a leader. So I would say my influence is minimal. It's more about everyone buying into the culture and doing the job that's asked of them really well, and it's a good environment to be in at the moment. There's a lot of good guys that are doing a lot of good things behind the scenes.

Q. At the end of the Australian summer, which was end of a pretty, well, torrid and --
AARON FINCH: You can say it --

Q. Okay. It was a tough period where you were changing formats and everything else, and you spoke about being perhaps tentative in thought processes and in technique, as well.

Q. Is today's innings, do you think it's the culmination of kind of coming back from that, and what do you think was the key between the time of the end of the Australian season and now?
AARON FINCH: I think the time in Dubai, or in the UAE this year against Pakistan was really good. The end of the Indian series was really good, as well, in the one-days. I probably just changed my mind-set a little bit more than anything. I started to doubt my game a lot before that in the Australian summer and there was a lot of times when I was just questioning every single decision that I was making, whether it was technical, mental, physical.

Everything that I could -- that I was doing, I was just questioning because you're looking for an answer that you don't know what the answer is. So it can be really tough at times, when you don't know what the end result is, but you're searching so hard for something you don't know.

So it was a really great learning for me over the summer. Obviously would have been nice to have that at 22 and not 32, but I think overall, what I learned was you can strip it back as much as you want, but it doesn't change the basics of the game. The basics is an opening batter to go out there and defend the good ball and score runs.

So for me, I was looking for everything other than just what the most basic thing, which is watch the ball and react to it. I mean, you can butter it up any way, but I was just going back to the basics, going back, doing a little bit of mental work on changing my mind-set to just be positive.

And Andrew McDermott always says to me, "If you get caught at mid-on or you get caught at first slip, you're still out, so play your natural game." (Smiling).

Q. Steve Smith looks really, really intense when he bats out there. Can you give us the insight of what it's like batting with him? Does that attitude rub off on you sometimes or do you take a step back?
AARON FINCH: His first 10 balls, 20 balls, he's very intense obviously. You'll notice guys that are nonstrikers usually stand on the wicket; you get a bit more grip when you're running between wickets, as well. But you'll notice when Steve starts his innings you get pushed further and further wider. He doesn't like to have anything in his -- just basically within miles of his view.

But once you start to get into the partnership and the partnership starts flowing, then you get a bit more of -- elite ens up. He relaxes and you have a little bit of banter in the middle, which is quite nice.

Q. What did sort of the quicks learn from the early onslaught from Sri Lanka, and is not having an all-rounder impacting whether you play a spinner at the moment?
AARON FINCH: Yes, it is. We were close, really close, to playing a spinner today and going with three quicks, a spinner and Maxie, as well. We just felt that the wicket wasn't going to offer any spin, and with a short boundary and the wind turned up, was going straight across to that short boundary; if we played an extra spinner, you're going to be pretty vulnerable if they get a left- and right-hand combination in at times.

So we felt that the fourth quick was going to be a bit more of an asset to us, which I think it turned out that it was.

I forgot the first part of your question.

Q. The quicks --
AARON FINCH: Oh, sorry. Yeah, you have to be really adaptable quicker. I think we went in with a plan to -- we felt as though we bowled group test match line and length that you would be able to -- that there would be enough there; then they would hit off that length and we went shorter rather than fuller, which was probably a defence mechanism first to go a touch shorter, try and protect the straight boundaries and get some men out in the boundary and really defend that way.

So once we went fuller, and we had a bit more protection square the wicket, but we bowled fuller with a straight man up, I felt like that's when we started to rein it back in and really stop the scoring.

So I think it's just you just have to keep changing it up and chopping and changing your plans, as well as your bowlers and your execute -- you want to execute all the time, but naturally we go shorter first rather than fuller, and today was a good learning for our boys to -- bless you -- to go fuller, go fuller, as well.

You bring in more modes of dismissal, and you bring in a bowled -- which are two huge percentage dismissals. So when you go defensive and you're on the back and you're putting in -- you're bowling back of a length, you're only really looking for a caught behind or a mistake from the batter. That was probably a lesson for us.

Q. Can you describe the emotions when you did bring up the 100 today?
AARON FINCH: It was all right, yeah (Laughter). It's nice. It's always nice to get 100 and contribute to a win.

Honestly it doesn't really bother me if I get 99 or 100. It doesn't make a huge amount of difference to me personally. As long as you get yourself in a position to help the team win, that's what I'm more worried about.

Obviously that's better than getting none, don't get me wrong. It was nice to get 100. It just doesn't -- winning the game is far more important than getting 100, a personal milestone.

But it was actually nice to kick on past 100 and get 150 and go a little bit deeper than probably what I have. I've done it a couple times recently in Dubai, but other hundreds have been 104, 105, 110, around that mark that obviously help get yourself in a good position but getting a 150, probably allows your side to go a little bit deeper and go a bit harder with your middle order.

Q. Sri Lankan team manager, he complained to the ICC about pitch, about the Sri Lankan team batting also very well today.

Q. What do you think about pitch?
AARON FINCH: I thought the pitch played beautifully today. I thought it played -- I thought with how dry it was underneath, it might spin a little bit more as the game went on, which it didn't.

It played beautiful all day. Maybe a little bit of rain at the start of the Sri Lanka innings helped out, but if you play enough here at The Oval, you know that once -- when there's a nice covering of grass, it keeps a bit of carry and pace in the wicket, which you need, otherwise they turn into pretty slow and boring-type games where all the guys are in front of the wicket and you're bowling stump to stump and it's not very attractive cricket. At times you can walk out there and think the wicket looks like it's going to seam around and it's going to be a mind field for the batters.

But it actually played a lot better than they look at times, and I think credit to the groundsman. He's had the covers on here for a long time. There's been a lot of rain around London over the last few days, so to produce a beautiful wicket like that, and a good cricket wicket all around, with as limited preparation as he had, I think was a great effort.

Q. You're 4-1 after five games, and you played five games in two weeks. Is there relief that heavy stretch is over and where do you think you sit in the grand scheme of things as you take stock at the halfway mark?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, it's been a busy period. I know the boys are looking forward to an extra day off. Travel tomorrow up to Notts. Not much planned on Monday. I think the boys will get out and play some golf and relax, however they want to do that. Train Tuesday, Wednesday, play Thursday. It's still a busy period, no doubt, but it's not as hectic as it has been the last two weeks like you said.

When you're playing really good cricket, it's nice to be playing all the time and it feels like the back-to-back games are really good because you just get on a roll. You get into playing mode.

But I think the boys do need that extra day. It will do a world of good in the next few days, just to mentally refresh as much as anything, because it's been a lot of time on a bus and a lot of time in a cricket changing room.

I think we would have taken it, no doubt at the start of the tournament. You want to win every game, but it's unrealistic at times to think that you're just going to walk in and win every game in a tournament in conditions like this.

Yeah, we're happy where we're sitting, but definitely time to sit back and assess where we can improve and what we can do over the next couple of weeks to give ourselves the best chance to be standing on the Lord's balcony on the 14th of July.

Q. How is Coults? Is it just soreness?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, just stiff and sore. He's been flagging a little bit over the last couple of games. Obviously over the summer, he had limited -- well, his bowling loads and stuff were quite limited with what he could do. He was managed -- well, not managed. He was stiff and sore, yeah.

Q. And secondly, Glenn Maxwell, before you became captain, he barely bowled for Australia for a couple years. Today he bowled pretty well. Was that something you always thought that Glenn was capable of doing more of, or is it something that he's developed in his bowling the last six months?
AARON FINCH: I think that his bowling has improved, but if we go back to the last World Cup, he was our -- for the majority of the games, he was our only spinner. Xavier Doherty played in the game sense Sri Lanka at the SCG which is a high-scoring run-fest really. Apart from that, Maxie was our only spinner. So he's always been capable of it.

I think at the time, when Steve was captain, Travis Head was in the side, as well. So that was just a different option. And I think that just comes down to personal preference on who you prefer as a bowler, as the captain.

So I think Smithy obviously rated Heady's bowling a little bit more, and that's fine. That happens. That's an on-the-day decision.

Yeah, Maxie, I think he's done really well when he's had the opportunity. He was a big part of us reining it in today. Two lefties, he had a nice breeze to bowl with, to across, which allowed him to drift the ball quite a bit which made it -- made it, he could shut down one side of the ground a bit easier.

Thanks, guys.

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