Australia 248-6 (Finch 156) beat
England 209-6 (Root 90no) by 39 runs
First Twenty20 International, Southampton
Aaron Finch smashed a new Twenty20 International record score of 156 to set up a 39-run win for Australia over England at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
The right-hander muscled 11 fours and 14 sixes to dominate an Australian record score of 248 for six before England, despite an unbeaten 90 from Joe Root, closed on 209 for six.
That was a recovery of some note given that they were 42 for four when Eoin Morgan departed in the fourth over, but Australia always had enough runs on the board, going on to take their first win in an international match since February.
They came courtesy of a blistering display from Finch, playing in his seventh Twenty20 International, who feasted as England failed to bowl as well as they are capable of.
Shots that will linger on in the memory include a six over cover on one knee and one over point after Jade Dernbach had followed him with a wide delivery.
He reached his half-century, century and then passed Brendon McCullum's record of 123 with maximums and just missed Richard Levi's record of the quickest Twenty20 International century by three balls.
David Warner (1) fell cheaply, and slightly farcically when he edged the ball and lost his grip on his bat in doing so. After being caught by Jos Buttler off Stuart Broad had to troop back to collect it.
Shaun Marsh played his part by making 28 in 21 balls as he and Finch added 114 for the second wicket while Shane Watson (37 in 16 balls) cracked two sixes and four fours during a 101-run stand for the third.
That was ended when Finch was bowled by Dernbach, who did get reward for bowling full, following that wicket up with the scalps of Watson and Glenn Maxwell, both bowled in similar fashion.
Steven Finn trapped George Bailey in front for one before Matthew Wade (15 not out) and James Faulkner (5 not out) ensure the innings finished strongly.
Dernbach returned three for 34 and was the only England bowler to concede runs at less than 10 runs per over. Joe Root was savaged for 27 in his only set of six balls and Danny Briggs leaked 51 in his four overs for the cost of removing Marsh.
England were up with the required run-rate, albeit very briefly, as Alex Hales (8) and Michael Lumb (22) took on Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood first up but their assault was soon ended.
Lumb was trapped in front by Johnson and Hales was caught by wicket-keeper Wade, off Hazlewood. The same pair then combined to remove Luke Wright for four and when Morgan drove Johnson to Maxwell at cover, England looked finished.
To their credit, they did not collapse as so often happens in such situations, but instead battled hard and would eventually close on a score that they have only once bettered before, largely thanks to Root's 90 not out in 49 balls.
The Yorkshireman shook off a blow on the side of the grille to hit Hazlewood for four the next ball and added 12 other boundaries and one six.
Ravi Bopara made 45 in 29 balls and Jos Buttler 27 in 17 and although even he would have been hard pressed to salvage anything from this match, questions are already being asked about whether he is coming in too low, particularly with Morgan badly out of form.
Leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed made his debut for Australia, but still remains without a wicket in Twenty20 cricket. He went for 43 runs in four overs but showed signs that his selection is justified, although colliding with Wade in the field and dropping a catch late on means his first taste of international cricket didn't exactly go to plan.
Meanwhile, Watson dismissed Bopara and Faulkner removed Buttler and Broad ended unbeaten on four in two balls as England closed on a score that on almost any other night, they would have been pleased with.
Tonight, however, was not a normal night. It was Aaron Finch's night.
Record-Breaker - Aaron Finch now stands well clear at the top of the list of Twenty20 International century makers below
|156||AJ Finch||Australia v England||The Ageas Bowl, Southampton||2013|
|123||BB McCullum||New Zealand v Bangladesh||Pallekele Cricket Stadium, Pallekele||2012/13|
|117||CH Gayle||West Indies v South Africa||New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg||2007/08|
|117*||RE Levi||South Africa v New Zealand||Seddon Park, Hamilton||2011/12|
|116*||BB McCullum||New Zealand v Australia||AMI Stadium, Christchurch||2009/10|
|104*||TM Dilshan||Sri Lanka v Australia||Pallekele Cricket Stadium, Pallekele||2011|
|101||SK Raina||India v South Africa||Beausejour Stadium, Gros Islet||2010|
|101*||MJ Guptill||New Zealand v South Africa||Mercedes Benz Park, East London||2012/13|
|100||DPMD Jayawardene||Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe||Guyana National Stadium, Providence||2010|
|100||RD Berrington||Scotland v Bangladesh||Sportpark Westvliet, Voorburg||2012|
© Cricket World 2013