England v Australia, 2nd T20, Chester-le-Street August 30, 2013

Australia draw confidence from Finch feat


Match facts

August 31, Chester-le-Street
Start time 2.30pm (1330 GMT)

Big Picture

Did those at the Ageas Bowl on Thursday witness the explosion of a new Twenty20 sensation, or will "Finch-hitting" become a byword for a flash-dash-and-crash-in-the-pan one-off? Like Stay Puft terrorising Manhattan, Aaron Finch stomped around the pitch, towering over the opposition and effortlessly depositing sixes wherever he chose. He will have the chance to make bowlers' nightmares flesh again in the second T20 at Chester-le-Street - England may need to resort to calling the Ghostbusters.

At domestic level, Finch's record is formidable but it has taken a freakish knock to cement his spot in the Australia team - though credit should go to the selectors for persisting with him, after scores of 1, 7 and 4 in his three previous T20 internationals this year. Perhaps the answer is to only play him versus England, against whom he has an average of 224 from three innings.

The conditions in Durham, where bowlers can usually expect a little more TLC, may mitigate against a similar run bonanza but, after a first win in any format since beating West Indies in an ODI on February 10, Australia's confidence will have soared like one straight out of the middle of Finch's bat. This was the first time Australia had fielded the bench-press top four of Finch, David Warner, Shaun Marsh and Shane Watson and it really only takes one of those to go big to create problems for any side; another dismantling of England would set up the ODIs nicely.

For England, there was encouragement in the spirited way in which they went about their chase, including another gem from Joe Root in his first innings in the format - and that after having his lip split by a bouncer that forced its way through the grill of his helmet, too. While Finch may bestride the strike rate column in international T20 as the fastest gun to have faced 30 balls or more, there's an impish presence right on his tail: at 183.67, Root's career strike rate is just 0.11 lower. Bowl a few more yorkers and England might just make things competitive this time.

Form guide

England: LLWLW
Australia: WLLLL

Players to watch

The man set to deputise for Alastair Cook as England's ODI captain in the forthcoming series, Eoin Morgan, is fast losing his status as undroppable in limited-overs cricket. He hasn't passed fifty for England since the World Twenty20 - 23 innings in all formats - and has been in scratchy touch for Middlesex after returning from surgery on a broken finger. He could do with reminding everyone of his own personal brand of genius.

For Australia, you can't look past Aaron Finch - and that's not just because he is a hefty slab of a cricketer. T20 innings of that magnitude usually require a bit of luck and Finch was honest enough to admit of his record 14 sixes that "any one of those could have gone straight up in the air"; but, amid the pints and the pop music, he will command something close to unbroken attention when he walks out for the follow up at the Riverside.

Team news

England will almost certainly want to look at Michael Carberry, so either of the openers could make way, provided Root doesn't suffer any after effects from being hit on the head. Danny Briggs suffered at the hands of Finch, conceding more runs than any other bowler, and may rotate back out for the ever-reliable James Tredwell. Boyd Rankin is the other bowling option in the squad.

England (possible) 1 Michael Carberry, 2 Michael Lumb, 3 Luke Wright, 4 Eoin Morgan, 5 Joe Root, 6 Ravi Bopara, 7 Jos Buttler (wk), 8 Stuart Broad (capt), 9 James Tredwell, 10 Steven Finn, 11 Jade Dernbach

Steven Smith has returned to Australia after suffering a quad strain, depleting the 18-man limited-overs squad by one. Adam Voges may not be able to force his way back into a powerful top order but there could be changes to the bowling attack, with Mitchell Starc and Nathan Coulter-Nile providing good bench strength. Fawad Ahmed should get another opportunity to acclimatise to international cricket.

Australia (possible) 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Shaun Marsh, 4 Shane Watson, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 George Bailey (capt), 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 James Faulkner, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Josh Hazlewood, 11 Fawad Ahmed

Pitch and conditions

The Chester-le Street surface for the Test provided plenty for the seamers and, even with the priorities of T20 in mind, the pitch is unlikely to be as flat and unthreatening as that in Southampton. The average score for the team batting first during this year's FLt20 was just shy of 170. A sunny day is forecast, so batting shouldn't be too taxing.

Stats and trivia

  • Australia's win in the first T20 was their first victory in international competition in 200 days.
  • They now have a 4-3 win record against England in the shortest format.
  • England last T20 at Chester-le-Street was a seven-wicket defeat against South Africa last year, after making 118 for 7.
  • Finch's century was the first T20 international hundred scored in the UK.


"Rooty played well for his 90 on his first knock in Twenty20 international cricket. If we were chasing 200 we get it. You can't legislate for someone getting 150 off 63 balls."
England captain Stuart Broad gives credit where it's due

"It's only one T20 game. There are still five one-dayers and another T20 to come and I'm sure they'll come back with some new plays so we'll have to adapt again."
Aaron Finch wasn't getting carried away with his achievement

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • anton on August 31, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    George Bailey is the weak link in the Australian team. Get in Moises Henriques or Cameron White or Mitchell Marsh to replace him.

  • alen on August 31, 2013, 11:54 GMT

    Finch gonna Clinch the series the today ? lets wait n watch its getting better than best never expect this kind of heat from australia T20 Team ..get your beers ready folks

  • John on August 31, 2013, 11:10 GMT

    @Int.Curator on (August 31, 2013, 9:55 GMT), you don't really understand cricket, do you? If Test cricket was played on the roads that T20 is played on with the same short boundaries and fielding restrictions then they'd be lucky to get through two innings, never mind four. You can try all you like but you can't change the fact that T20 was invented as a way to keep the interest of those who forget their Facebook password if they don't post a status update every 5 minutes. A Test victory is inherently more valuable than a T20 victory simply because Test cricket is cricket as played for over a hundred years and T20 is a variation of that game created for those... like you. That's not to say that those who play T20 don't play it hard and shouldn't be proud of their wins achievements. It's just that people who would rather play T20 than Test cricket are either lazy or greedy or both. It's like a director preferring to make commercials than movies. You do what you can but you still dream.

  • Mark on August 31, 2013, 9:55 GMT

    Finch's T20 innings was special because likelihood of a big score is limited

    by overs, time to get eye in, being able to get on strike played at night with white ball. Every 20 overs new wicket surfaces You need a good eye and broad range of shots to select from.

    Aspiring T20 cricketing batsmen must lick their lips and look with envy at the few restrictions and ease to bat in test cricket.

  • James on August 31, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    This is a very strong Aus T-20 team, much better than some of the make-shift teams they usually put on the field for this format. They will be tough to beat, esp. if they play a strong bowling lineup. Still, it's hard to make predictions in T-20. I hope they win. The T-20 series is the booby prize, but we'll take it.

  • Android on August 31, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    he won't do it again that's for sure

  • Dummy4 on August 31, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    The days when Eoin Morgan was an asset to the side have gone. However nobody could have resisted that Finching at least not with that set of bowlers. England is just very bad at this 20-20 stuff.

  • o on August 31, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    It was remarkable hitting but the tactics were non existent there was no change of plan no counter attack England just continued bowling length and donkey drop spin for 20 overs it was almost like they were going through the motions of a training session giving him hitting practice. Broad is very inexperienced and plays little T20 not even for Notts so I don't understand why he is T20 captain ? The same can be said about Finn when there's guys like Napier and Willey who are much more versed in this format of bowling who should be playing for England.

  • Mark on August 31, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    Test or T20? For a cricket player who only has the unique special skills to play T20, representing your country in this format is no less important to him than any other format. This negates the debate that a tests cricket win is a greater win than a T20.

    It is just a preference like to win a 100m sprint or to win a 42 km marathon. Which event is the greater win?

  • Dummy4 on August 31, 2013, 8:38 GMT

    It is very unlikely that Finch is a one blast wonder. Gayle has had his ups and downs, mostly ups, so will Finch. Steve Waugh said selectors must persist with youngsters with potential. As Gardner says, that is what the selectors did to their credit. Gardner is right, it is difficult to overstate the boost to Australia of Finch's mauling of the English bowlers. Tonight it may or may not be Finch, but watch out for Watson, Warner, Marsh and Maxwell; any one or more of them could explode. Then our bowlers need to take care of Root and co. I hope Ahmed gets a couple to boost his confidence.

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