England v Australia, 1st T20, Ageas Bowl August 29, 2013

Finch stuns England with blazing 156


Australia 248 for 6 (Finch 156) beat England 209 for 6 (Root 90*) by 39 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Whether Australia can produce young batsmen who are able to occupy the crease in Test cricket remains up for debate. That they can produce batsmen who give it an almighty thump there is no doubt. Aaron Finch, the 26-year-old Victorian, ransacked England's bowling with an eye-popping world record 156 as Australia secured their first victory in any format for 200 days.

It was a ferocious display of hitting from Finch, who had six previous T20 caps, as he tore England's attack to shreds with a brutal display, in the process going well past Brendon McCullum's 123 as the highest score in an international Twenty20. Australia's eventual 248 for 6 was the second-highest total in a T20 international - and the highest in a match involving two Test nations - only Sri Lanka's 260 against Kenya was out of reach and for a while it appeared they may cross that landmark too.

A couple of weeks ago in the Friends Life t20 quarter-final there was 200-plays-200 match and the consistency of the one-day pitches at the Ageas Bowl deserves much praise - 457 runs in 40 overs is value for money, even if to watch such a boundary-fest all the time would dull the senses. But to chase 249 would have bordered on miracle territory. England, not surprisingly, could not get close - although did pass 200 for only the fourth time in a T20 - despite Joe Root's entertaining 90 off 49 balls. Tellingly, perhaps, England could only manage five sixes to Australia's 18.

Fourteen of those came off Finch's bat, another of the records that he broke during the onslaught. He began with a six first ball, picked up effortlessly off Steven Finn, and it was a theme that would continue throughout. Each of Finch's landmarks came up with a six; his half-century, from 26 balls; his hundred, off 47, beating McCullum's record, and his 150.

He was on track to beat Richard Levi's 45-ball hundred against New Zealand, in Hamilton, as the fastest on the international stage but after reducing himself to a couple of singles had to settle for second spot when he launched his 47th delivery, from Stuart Broad, for another six. He was the first Australian to make a Twenty20 international hundred and it took him just 13 more deliveries to power past 150. By then, it had long since stopped being an even contest.

The bowlers had no answers, although not for the first time there was an absence of yorkers - anything fractionally off target was dispatched over the boundaries with strength, timing and, occasionally, some finesse; although this was not an innings of deft touch and placement. Finch's sixes over the off side, one struck as he slid outside leg stump, were perhaps the most breathtaking.

Picking through the wreckage of England's figures may seem a rather pointless task, but there are a couple of overs that stand out. Root's only over cost 27 - he made the mistake of conceding a single to Shaun Marsh first ball - and Danny Briggs, on his home ground, was taken for 23 in his last, all by Finch. Following on from Martin Guptill's huge innings in the one-day international here earlier in the season, this is not a favourite ground for England at the moment.

The only England bowler to have an economy rate in single figures was Jade Dernbach, which itself will bring surprise from many. He finally removed Finch and also dumbfounded Shane Watson with a back-of-the-hand slower ball after his 37 off 16 balls, in a stand of 99 in seven overs, had gone almost unnoticed.

Finch and Marsh had added 114 in nine overs for the second wicket having come together early following David Warner's bizarre dismissal. Swinging with all his power, he top edged Broad's second ball and, in the process, lost his bat which flew towards short fine-leg while Jos Buttler settled under the catch. Warner then had to walk back to collect his bat from an obliging England player who had picked it up. It was the high point of the innings for England.

But the crowd had another moment to savour. The opening over of the chase, bowled by the much-missed (at least by the England supporters) Mitchell Johnson, cost 17 and included two wides and three boundaries. Johnson, though, recovered from those early problems by trapping Michael Lumb lbw and then having Eoin Morgan caught at point while he touched 93mph on the speed gun.

But Josh Hazlewood created the most physical damage. Root needed treatment for a cut lip after a short ball from Hazlewood squeezed between his peak and grille. Warner, who had come close to inflicting something similar earlier in the tour, was the first Australian to go up to Root who, after a few minutes, did not seem overly troubled by the blow as he notched a 29-ball fifty and he later took 16 off Johnson's last over much to the joy of the fans who stayed on to the bitter end.

In the seventh over there was also a significant moment. Fawad Ahmed, the legspinner, delivered his first international over. It went for 10 and his four overs ended up costing 43. It was not really an evening to be a spinner. His story remains a remarkable one but, for one night at least, it was trumped.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • misha on September 5, 2013, 4:25 GMT

    Before the advent of T20, I already thought something more could be done with ODs. Had an idea of 4 x 25 (or 20); and interactive, e.g.: team making most in first innings could decide who batted first in second; and innings breaks wouldn't need to coincide with session breaks - so, all out in 17 overs: can start 2I, or 7 down after 20: can continue 1I after break - but team getting first I points and choice of 2nd I order still determined by score only in 1I and max. 20 overs. Also: LBW rule - get rid of "outside leg/off," and "whether he played a shot" charade; would do something to balance up game for bowlers. And... also for the bowlers, a different ball, an artificial one - a majority of the world's cricket population are Hindu, & others of us (at least theoretical ... lapsed) vegetarians. A ball that wouldn't depend on a "designated polisher/scratcher," which would reliably swing, seam or spin. That might all together allow the emergence of something more more than a bashfest.

  • John on August 31, 2013, 11:24 GMT

    But the administrators don't want an even contest between bat and ball. They want a spectacle that will be enjoyed by people who don't understand cricket. The innings is done after 20 overs anyway so it's not like a team can bat for days like they can when Test cricket is played on a road. If you want a contest between bat and ball then don't watch T20, it's that simple. Even ODIs are barely a contest a lot of the time.

  • Anupam on August 30, 2013, 15:53 GMT

    Awesome match! Ride of Ferrari after camel walk. This match has one thing exception; that never happen before- Guess What "Dernbach was the most economical bowler". Why Smith not in the squad ?

  • anton on August 30, 2013, 15:29 GMT

    One way to make the game more even between bat and all in T20s is to get rid of field restrictions. I've always felt field restrictions was very artificial. A team joule be ale to place their players wherever hey like at all times. Too many easy runs are scored upfront in T20s. Just beat the infield and you have a four.

    Secondly, make use of the entire field. Too often we see players about to be caught in the boundary only to be saved by the rope that is often brought a a long way. Makes a mockery of sixes. A 70 metre hit should never be a six.

  • vas on August 30, 2013, 15:27 GMT

    The way T20 is evolving only batsmen like Finch, Gayle, Watson, pollard and Warner will be playing T20 cricket. Six hitting should be limited to 6 sixes/batsman. If a seventh ball goes over the rope (accidentally) no runs should be added.

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    400+ runs in a T20 match. They might as well put 10 batsmen in the side and used bowling machines.

  • mark on August 30, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    12rpo is not healthy sign for future criket even in t20.. this is not cricket...making concrete surfaces to show biz a sixes and boundaries...fans will loos the interest if this continues... saw this hyper scoring /run rate during last 6, 7 months too much...there's no quality in the game.. cricket is contest between bat & ball... not slogging, or bashing.. pls stop this type of play...make better surfaces to good thrilling contest....

  • Peter on August 30, 2013, 12:43 GMT

    Who'd want to be a bowler in 20/20 on pitches like these. 250 vs 210 in 20 overs. Good luck bowlers, that's all I can say.

    Where was Pietersen?

  • gurinder on August 30, 2013, 12:36 GMT

    well done finch , u deserve man of match. england even with their best side cannot compare to this dynamic and youthful batting lineup of australia. as a neutral and ipl fan, i knew of finch talents as seen in pune warriors. still i wud rate finch innings 3rd best in t20 after miller's mind numbing shocker of a century while chasing on a difficult mohali track against bangalore and gayle's 175 runs in which he scored century in 30(#fact) balls.keep going finch and aus , now win series before next ashes.