England no match for whirlwind Finch

Australia

Opener Aaron Finch struck the highest score in the history of Twenty20 International cricket, as Australia powered to a straightforward 39-run victory over England in Thursday's series opener at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.

Opener Aaron Finch struck the highest score in the history of Twenty20 International cricket, as Australia powered to a straightforward 39-run victory over England in Thursday's series opener at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.

Finch faced a mere 63 deliveries and hammered all of 14 sixes and 11 boundaries en route to 156 – surpassing the 123 New Zealander Brendon McCullum recorded against Bangladesh in Pallekele last year by a veritable County Mile.

The final tally weighed in as the second largest ever, with the hosts falling a dozen short of the 260 for six amassed by Sri Lanka against Kenya at the Wanderers in Johannesburg in 2007.

No bowler was spared, particularly spinner Joe Root, who travelled for 27 runs in a solitary over. Seamer Jade Dernbach, meanwhile, was the best of a bad bunch – finishing with figures of three for 34 in four overs.

Root certainly fared better with the bat, reaching 90 not out in a response of 209 for six. Having copped a short delivery to the helmet from fast bowler Josh Hazlewood, the right-hander recovered remarkably well. Regardless, his effort was in vain.

England will admit batsmen two through four, who managed just 12 runs between them, should have done better – and all-rounder Ravi Bopara's 45 would have read larger had seamer Shane Watson not intervened. Perhaps the left-handed Michael Carberry should have played.

The Aussies would have liked their debutant – Pakistan-born leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed – to have delivered a stronger showing. Ahmed, however, went without a wicket, proved expensive – and dropped a catch.

The fixture brought a whopping 457 runs and a dozen wickets in total, which bodes very well for the second and final T20I at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street on Saturday.

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