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Finch fires MCC to victory

Aaron Finch made an unbeaten 181 to steer the MCC to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over the Rest of the World at Lord’s.

Australian Finch hit six sixes and 23 fours to wrap up victory with 25 balls to spare, his boundary-laden innings seeing him overshadow the efforts of team-mates Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara.

Yuvraj Singh had earlier struck a fine century of his own, making132 to help the Rest of the World manage 293-7 in a star-studded match staged to celebrate the bicentenary of the famous ground.

Captain Shane Warne contributed three not out to his team's cause but was then unable to take to the field after being struck by a beamer from fellow Australian Brett Lee, a blow that was quickly diagnosed as a broken hand that left the leg-spinner watching on from the balcony with his arm in a sling.

It had seemed the MCC side would be chasing a much smaller target when they reduced their opponents to 68-5 at the end of the 12th over.

Saeed Ajmal was the tormentor-in-chief of the Rest of the World top order, the Pakistan mystery spinner claiming four wickets for five runs in his opening spell after Lee had got the initial breakthrough, bowling Virender Sehwag (22).

The departure of the India opener ended a quick-fire stand of 54 with Adam Gilchrist, who soon followed his team-mate back to the iconic pavilion when he was stumped in the next over for 29.

Tamim Iqbal was perhaps unfortunate to be given out lbw having managed just a single, replays showing he had got an inside edge on the ball before it struck his front pad, before bowler Ajmal and wicketkeeper Chris Reed combined again to send Kevin Pietersen on his way, the Surrey right-hander charging past a doosra to depart for 10.

Shahid Afridi lasted just two balls before he became the latest victim for his compatriot Ajmal (4-45), raising concerns that the star-studded occasion could be done and dusted fairly quickly.

However Yuvraj and Paul Collingwood combined in a sixth-wicket stand worth 131, the latter contributing 40 before he was well caught at a wide slip position by Rahul Dravid off the bowling of Lee.

Peter Siddle (33 not out) helped add a further 84 with Yuvraj, who blasted six sixes and eight fours during his 134-ball knock that was eventually ended by former India team-mate Tendulkar.

Warne came in at the fall of the seventh wicket and was greeted to the middle by a full delivery from Lee that caught him flish on his right glove. He was able to carry on but the injury denied him the chance to rekindle old battles by bowling at fellow legends Tendulkar and Lara.

Opening the innings, Tendulkar helped put on 107 with Finch before another legendary spinner, Muttiah Muralitharan, bowled him for 44.

Lara replaced his skipper and had reached 23 by the time he feathered Collingwood through to wicketkeeper Gilchrist, who was standing in as captain in place of Warne. The same bowler ruined Rahul Dravid's hopes of making a contribution as he was bowled off an inside edge first ball.

But Shivnarine Chanderpaul - who finished up on 37 not out - put on an unbroken 122 with Finch, who finished proceedings in style by launching Yuvraj's left-arm spin over the rope at long-on.