Brutal Aaron Finch finally puts on a show for Australia
Australia 248-6 England 209-6 (Australia win by 39 runs)
Thursday 29 August 2013
Where, many in this country and in Australia may be wondering, has Aaron Finch been all summer? He has yet to play Test cricket, but given the problems Australia had at the top of their order, a player who hits the ball as cleanly and as far as the muscular 26-year-old Victorian did here might have been well worth a gamble.
Only once before has an international T20 crowd seen a hundred scored as quickly as Finch scored his, off 47 balls, in front of an open-mouthed Ageas Bowl. Had he not decided to pick up a few singles in the nineties, he would surely have obliterated Richard Levi's 45-ball record for South Africa against New Zealand in 2012.
But Finch was just warming up. The previous record for the top score, Brendan McCullum's 123 for New Zealand against Bangladesh, also made last year, was passed in the 16th over, and his 150, which came up off 60 balls, included 14 sixes – another world record.
Red-ball cricket on a less blameless pitch is of course a very different challenge, and by all accounts Finch, who has played seven one-day internationals and now six T20s for his country, is still considered to be some way off Test class. By the time he chopped a Jade Dernbach delivery on to his middle stump, however, he had hit 156 off 63 balls and, to some extent at least, he had redefined the art of the possible.
After the England captain Stuart Broad had put Australia in, Finch started as he meant to go on, hitting the first ball he faced, delivered by Steve Finn, 20 rows back into the stand at square leg.
His fellow opener David Warner went early, throwing away his bat as well as his wicket when he top-edged a pull at Broad. But Finch was to hit three more maximums – the second an extraordinary shot flayed over point on one knee off Dernbach – in going to his fifty off 26 balls.
Joe Root was hit for three sixes and two fours in his single over, but spin or pace came and indeed went alike. Shane Watson was barely noticed but he thumped 37 off 16 balls as Australia racked up the second highest international T20 score after Sri Lanka's 260 for 6 against Kenya in 2007.
England lost wickets early in their response and there was no way back from 37 for 3, though Root remained unbeaten on 90 off 49 balls and shared a stand of 95 with Ravi Bopara, who made 45. The young Yorkshireman steered his side towards 200 at 10 an over, but after Finch's brutality the cause was always forlorn.
Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Compare the Barcelona and Real Madrid players in El Clasico
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo
Tim Sherwood: The mavericks have always needed special handling – but Balotelli is not delivering his side of the bargain for Liverpool
Manchester United vs Chelsea: Modesty of Louis van Gaal makes nice contrast with his old pupil Jose Mourinho
Rio Ferdinand retirement: QPR defender announces he will end career next summer
- 1 Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
- 2 McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 4 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 5 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
Poppy Appeal 2014: This is why I won't be wearing a red poppy this year